Chocolate maker Ferrero is investigating a report claiming the toys found in its popular chocolate eggs were made under slave-labour conditions.
British newspaper The Sun published an investigation claiming the toys found in Kinder Surprise eggs are assembled by impoverished families in Romania, with some children as young as six working in slave-like conditions.
The newspaper spoke with a family of five and a 49-year-old woman, who say the pay is terrible, but that poverty leaves them with no choice.
A Romanian family told the Sun they receive the Kinder Surprise toy materials from a company called Prolegis, a sub-contractor for Romexa SA. (Photo: Getty Images)
The family — which includes an 11-year-old and two six-year-old children — says they are paid about 20 Romanian lei, or about $6.32, for every 1000 toys they assemble.
Their typical work day amounts to 13 hours.
They told the Sun they receive the toy materials from a company called Prolegis, a sub-contractor for Romexa SA.
A Romexa area manager said the investigation was the first time he'd heard about the alleged working conditions.
Ferrero says it banned the use of child labour in factories. (Photo: Twitter)
"I will find out who is responsible and the factories involved will have their contracts terminated if this is found to be true," Daniel Muresan said.
Ferrero said Romexa and Prolegis passed a strict audit inspection in May.
A "core values" page on Ferrero's website says the company supports the abolition of child labour on its production chain.
The company said in a statement that it guarantees employees the minimum wage.
Romanian prosecutors said Tuesday they were looking into the report.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that the family quoted in the story made the equivalent of 49 cents an hour. This version has been corrected.