New Bon Appétit Policies
Dining services company implements new animal welfare reforms
Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 11:04
At least now when you order the prime rib special in Benson, you know that Bessie had enough room to stretch out.
Bon Appétit Management Company recently announced a set of reformed welfare policies for farm animals, as well higher standards for ensuring that individual farmers stick to these standards. Santa Clara’s ethics-driven students are especially excited about the new position of the company.
The changes that Bon Appétit is implementing will be rolled out by 2015, but they won’t affect the contract between the food service company and the university, according to Jane Barrantes, the assistant vice president of Auxiliary Services. The current contract lasts until 2019, and no amendments have been planned for the contract.
Bon Appétit, which operates more than 400 cafés for corporations, universities, museums and specialty venues in 31 states, included four stipulations in its reform that the company hopes will represent its dedication to safe and responsible food.
The company is now requiring that all pork it serves — currently 3 million pounds annually — be produced without gestation crate confinement systems, instead using higher-welfare group housing systems.
They have also announced that they will be switching all of its pre-cracked (liquid) eggs — currently 11 million eggs annually — from hens confined in barren battery cages to hens living in cage-free farms, as it already does for shell eggs.
The new policies also call to entirely eliminate foie gras (livers of force-fed ducks) and veal from calves confined in crates from Bon Appétit’s menus.
Finally, Bon Appétit announced that it will be ramping up efforts to seek out the most responsible meat, poultry and egg producers by employing farms that have received at least one of the four highest animal-welfare certifications.
Bob Lubecky, the general manager of Dining Services at Santa Clara, doesn’t expect the new policies for humane food treatment to cause any inflation of food prices at Santa Clara, a point of contention for many budget-minded students at Santa Clara.
“Is our pricing more expensive than Safeway? Yes it is, because we’re cooking from scratch. We have product that is raised humanely,” said Lubecky. “We pride ourselves in being socially responsible.”
The move is being hailed by the Humane Society of the United States as revolutionary in the food industry.
“Bon Appétit has turned ‘very good’ into ‘great,’ setting a new high water mark in the food-service sector,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, in a press release. “Consumers are deeply concerned about animal welfare, and Bon Appétit is responding.”
Bon Appétit is the first food service company to make these commitments, according to Helene York, Bon Appétit’s director of strategic sourcing and research. “We would love for others to follow our lead. That’s the best way to change the meat industry,” she stated.
The company will also continue to offer and promote vegetarian options daily as part of its Low Carbon Diet initiative, which was introduced in 2007.