In partnership with GotMercury.org, national food service provider protects fish eaters from mercury
Palo Alto, Calif. (October 16, 2006) -Do you love fish, but wonder if it is safe to eat? Now, diners across the country can find out about the safety of their fish. Bon Appétit Management Company announces the food service industry’s first informational campaign to advise diners of the risk of eating seafood containing high levels of mercury.
Starting November 15th, signage in all 400 Bon Appétit cafés around the country will direct fish eaters to the GotMercury.org calculator, which they can use to gauge their personal mercury exposure and intake risk.
While medical experts agree that seafood is a healthful dietary choice, certain fish species contain toxic levels of mercury, which is especially harmful to developing fetuses and children and may also cause health problems for adults. And since mercury contaminates oceans and lakes around the world, no product is guaranteed to be immune -no matter the price: canned tuna is one of the worst culprits. Young children, pregnant women, and women of childbearing age fall into the highest-risk category, and due to a lack of regulation and public information, many people unknowingly put themselves in danger.
Bon Appétit and GotMercury.org aim to change that. Bon Appétit, a leader in sustainable sourcing policies, is the first food service provider to ring the alarm bell, even going beyond the general warnings required by the State of California to ensure that every single one of their guests has the knowledge to make healthy fish choices.
“Americans deserve to know the truth about what’s in their food,” said Fedele Bauccio, CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company. “We serve over 200,000 guests a day in our cafes, many of them college age women of childbearing age. Their health remains our first priority. The mercury calculator ensures that guests can get this critical information about fish to make informed decisions.”
Dr. Peter Orris, Professor and Chief of Service, Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois Medical Center, commends Bon Appétit for the campaign, and urges other cafes and restaurants to follow their example. “Adjusting eating habits to improve our health is very difficult, especially as we hear conflicting reports about diet and nutrition. Bon Appétit’s mercury warning is immensely helpful both for individuals and as a broader public health initiative.”
The GotMercury.org calculator, based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, calculates the portions of fish that are safe to eat based on body weight. Additionally, the GotMercury.org website offers information on recent studies and answers common questions from fish eaters.
“Sustainable seafood should also mean healthy seafood, and Bon Appétit will provide customers with the knowledge they need to protect their health and the health of our oceans,” said Eli Saddler, public health analyst for GotMercury.Org.
Bon Appétit is no stranger to leading the industry in socially responsible operations. In 2002, it became the first restaurant company to pledge to protect our oceans by signing on, in all of its cafés, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guidelines for sustainability. Other Bon Appétit conservation and animal welfare projects include company-wide initiatives to buy from local and organic producers, reduce antibiotic use on meat farms, and purchase cage-free shell eggs. In its supportive role for GotMercury.org, Bon Appétit demonstrates its commitment not only to environmental sustainability, but to personal health.
About Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Co. is an onsite restaurant company offering full food service management to corporations, universities and specialty venues. Bon Appétit is committed to sourcing local, sustainable food supplies for all of its cafés throughout the country. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs with Environmental Defense, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, and other leading conservation organizations. Based in Palo Alto, CA. Bon Appétit has more than 400 cafés in 29 states, including Yahoo!, American University and the Getty Center. www.bamco.com