Owing to allegations that its employees face a litany of abuse, the United States has banned imports from Sime Darby Plantation, whose products are used in various household goods.
The decision means that all Sime Darby palm oil and palm oil products from Malaysia are banned from entering US ports.
The move against one of the world’s biggest palm oil producers marks the second time the US has blocked shipments from a palm oil company in Malaysia in recent months.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the ban saying there was proof that Sime Darby employees face violations such as sexual and physical harassment, pay withholding, and movement restrictions.
The ban “demonstrates how essential it is for Americans to research the origins of the everyday products that they purchase,” CBP acting commissioner Mark A. Morgan emphasised.
The company, which supplies major firms like Nestle and Unilever, runs a network of sprawling plantations and employs migrant workers from countries including Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Notably, earlier this year, anti-trafficking group Liberty Shared had petitioned the CBP to ban imports from Sime Darby over concerns about labour abuse.
Moreover, the US banned imports from another Malaysian palm oil producer, FGV Holdings, following a lengthy probe that found indications its workers faced abuse in October.
In regards to the matter, Sime Darby did not respond to requests for comment even though the company’s website displays a belief that “we have a responsibility to respect, support and uphold fundamental human rights.”