PureCircle Says Product Hold Based On Inaccurate Information – Updated June 2, 2016

by PureCircle | June 1, 2016 | News SHARE: 

On June 1, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a Withhold Release Order impacting shipments of stevia produced by PureCircle. We first learned of the Order at the end of last week. This Withhold Release Order is based on inaccurate information that these shipments contained products that were produced using forced labor at the Inner Mongolia Hengzheng Group Baoanzhao Agricultural and Trade LLC.

We have confirmed that our product is not produced by the Inner Mongolia Hengzheng Group Baoanzhao Agricultural and Trade LLC, including the two shipments currently detained by CBP.

PureCircle is committed to human rights and the proper and fair use of labor and as such, we have an explicit policy prohibiting use of forced labor in any part of our business, including a Supplier Code of Conduct which specifically prohibits the use of forced labor.

We are working with CBP to correct the inaccurate information and to expedite the release of our shipments.  Yesterday, we submitted our response to the Withhold Release Order which includes substantial documentation, including:

  • Bureau Veritas (independent, 3rd party) Audit Report on Labor Practices & Supply Chain Relationship – China which found:
    • No evidence of force, bonded or involuntary prison labor
    • Proper procedure of assessing suppliers
    • Proper traceability systems in place to trace each batch of extract produced to leaf supplier
    • No purchase records from Inner Mongolia Hengzheng Group Baoanzhao Agriculture and Trade LLC
  • Jiangxi South Law Firm Report (independent, 3rd party) which found that our product is not produced by Inner Mongolia Hengzheng Group Baoanzhao Agricultural and Trade LLC
  • SEDEX Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) which found:
    • No forced, bonded or involuntary prison labor
    • Conformance with regulations regarding Employment Freely Chosen, Child Labor, Regular Employment

We confirmed today, June 2, 2016, that CBP is reviewing our documentation and we will continue to work with CBP to resolve this matter quickly.