Leader in Sustainable Food Services Switches to Third-Party-Certified-Humane Ground Beef and Patties
PALO ALTO, CA (Aug. 28, 2012) — By September 1, all 500-plus Bon Appétit Management Company cafés in 32 states will serve only ground beef from contented cattle. Because bovines can’t actually voice their beefs about their treatment, we are requiring our suppliers to have met the strict standards of one of four independent animal-welfare organizations. (Beef purchases from small, local producers who are registered through the company’s Farm to Fork program, a core initiative since 1999, will continue to make the cut.)
The companywide “moove” is a step toward Bon Appétit’s commitment to the most sweeping changes in our meat supply of any food service company, by the aggressive date of 2015. As part of a groundbreaking February announcement, we vowed to purchase at least 25 percent of our beef, pork, and poultry from ranches and farms whose practices have been certified by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC)’s Certified Humane® program, Animal Welfare Approved, Food Alliance, or Global Animal Partnership. These four groups are independent, not industry-led, and have high animal-husbandry standards.
In 2011 Bon Appétit Management Company purchased 1.2 million pounds of ground beef and patties, of which 405,500 pounds already carried one of the four approved certifications. (As part of a separate company policy, all of that supply was also “naturally raised,” which we define as never receiving antibiotics or artificial hormones.) Now that certification will be required and not simply be voluntary, that’s an additional 800,000 pounds or more of burgers and meatloaf that will come from humanely raised animals.
“We need companies like Bon Appétit Management Company to lead the way so we can grow the supply of humanely raised beef,” says Adele Douglass, founder and CEO of HFAC, who helped write the beef standards. “Raising cattle is a big commitment, and changing practices can be expensive. Producers need to know there is both a demand and a reward for doing the right thing.”
Since 2005, all Bon Appétit’s shell eggs have been certified cage-free by HFAC or other third-party auditors; we’ve begun transitioning our pre-cracked (liquid) egg supply to cage-free, a move that will be completed by 2015. That’s also the deadline for when we’ll switch over to serving only pork from animals raised without the use of gestation crates. We banned all foie gras and veal from confined calves in February.
Twenty percent of all Bon Appétit’s meat and poultry already comes from small or midsize Farm to Fork producers, which must meet our guidelines for distance, annual revenues, ownership structure, and if considered midsize producers, also carry one of the four certifications.
Since 2003 Bon Appétit has also been committed to reducing the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. Drugs that are vital to human medicine are routinely administered in animals’ feed or water, in order to promote unnaturally fast growth and to enable the animals to tolerate crowded, unhygienic factory-farm conditions. Antibiotic-resistant superbugs have resulted that are causing a crisis in public health. Bon Appétit serves only chicken, turkey, and ground beef from animals never given subtherapeutic antibiotics.
“The entire system of how we raise animals for food in this country is deeply flawed,” says Bon Appétit CEO and cofounder Fedele Bauccio. “We have to move toward a more agro-ecological model, one that doesn’t crowd animals in horrifying conditions, concentrating their diseases and waste, but instead lets them engage in their natural behaviors and grow on Nature’s time frame. That would be better for the animals and better for workers, the communities living around them, and the environment.”
About Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Company (www.bamco.com) is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Bon Appétit has more than 500 cafés in 32 states, including eBay, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Getty Center. All Bon Appétit food is cooked from scratch, including sauces, stocks, and soups. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, the food and climate change connection, humanely raised meat and eggs, and farmworker welfare. It has received numerous awards for its work, from organizations including the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the James Beard Foundation, Chefs Collaborative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, The Humane Society of the United States, and Food Alliance.
Contact: Bonnie Azab Powell, firstname.lastname@example.org, (650) 621-0871