LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Nestle SA was sued in Los Angeles on Thursday over allegations that its Fancy Feast cat food contains fish from a Thai supplier that uses slave labor.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, alleges that Nestle — which has its U.S. headquarters in Glendale — violated laws prohibiting false advertising and unfair competition because its supplier uses forced labor to harvest fish used in the cat food. The suit was filed by four consumers seeking to represent all California buyers of Fancy Feast, Bloomberg reported.

In a statement, Nestle did not deny that forced labor was used in its supply chain.

“We at Nestle Purina agree that forced labor has no place in the supply chain,” the company stated. “We require all of our suppliers to respect human rights and prohibit forced labor. The elimination of forced labor in Southeast Asia is a shared responsibility, and we are committed to being part of the solution.”

The lawsuit alleges that Nestle works with a Thai partner, Thai Union, to import more than 28 million pounds of seafood-based pet food for top brands sold in America and that some of the imported cat food’s ingredients are obtained through slave labor on fishing vessels.

“Instead of true employment, men and boys are sold as slaves by brokers and smugglers to fishing captains in Thai ports in need of labor,” the lawsuit states. “Once sold, these men and boys … enter a modern form of indentured servitude where they are required to work to pay off the price the captains paid to purchase them.”

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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