Bon Appetit Introduces New Animal Welfare Policy

Abby Collier

Bon Appétit will offer the program to Oberlin along with 400 other institutions and corporations including Google, Disney Land and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The program “will be setting a new high-water mark in the food-service sector,” noted Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

The policy, to be phased in by 2015, will ensure that all Bon Appétit pork comes from pigs raised in higher-welfare group housing systems rather than in gestation crate confinement systems, and that all liquid eggs will now be cage-free and from farms.

The company, which uses 1.75 million pounds of eggs and 3 million pounds of pork annually, also said it will ramp up efforts to seek out meat, poultry and egg producers who have received at least one of the four highest animal-welfare certifications.

When Oberlin switched food companies in 2001 — prodded by a student essay — the school was impressed by Bon Appétit’s local food initiative, Farm to Fork, launched in 1999.

“When we first chose them one of the reasons was that they paid attention to the ingredients that were going into the food and the process by which they cook,” said Michele Gross, Oberlin’s director of dining and business operations. “One of the things I didn’t fully appreciate, which I think this initiative highlights, is their commitment to social justice.”

Since joining Oberlin, the company has introduced 24 new features to its service. These social and environmental initiatives include avoiding sourcing milk from cows treated with artificial bovine growth hormones, reducing antibiotics, purchasing seafood in accordance with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guidelines for sustainability and reducing food waste as a part of Bon Appétit’s Low Carbon Diet program. Oberlin has also made the shift to local foods, moving from zero to 30 percent local food.

Rick Panfil, Oberlin’s Bon Appétit on-campus representative states: “We try to buy local, we try to buy natural and buy organic when we can.”