Bon Appetit Threatens Tomato Boycott Unless Farming Conditions Improve

Bon Appetit Management, which runs the food service at over 400 college campuses and cafes in addition to Wesleyan, has threatened to boycott the Immokalee Florida tomato harvesting industry until workers rights are defended. According to an article in the Washington Post, workers have been treated under conditions similar to slavery. In 2008, six people were accused of imprisoning one dozen farmworkers in boxes, trucks and shacks. The workers were apparently then chained, physically abused and forced to work.

Bon Appetit clearly means business:

Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy called it “slavery, plain and simple.”

The growers “can do the right thing, and our five million pounds of business can go to them,” said Fedele Bauccio, Bon Appetit’s chief executive. “Or they can let the tomatoes rot in the fields.”

Bon Appetit’s decision is the latest salvo on a new front of the sustainable-food wars: social justice. While most consumers associate sustainability with local or organic food, companies such as Bon Appetit, a division of the Compass Group, and Whole Foods Market are starting to define the concept more broadly.

Read the full article here.

14 thoughts on “Bon Appetit Threatens Tomato Boycott Unless Farming Conditions Improve

  1. Max Rothstein

    While I totally support the tomato boycott and farm workers rights, let’s not get carried away singing Bon Appetite’s praise without a closer examination of their record of social accountability. In the summer of 2008 I worked for UNITE HERE the food service and hotel worker’s union that operates at Wesleyan’s campus. Based on personal experience in Chicago hotels and banquet halls I can say first hand that the management people at this company are a remarkable type of human scum. The industry is organized in such a way (i.e. supplying food to a captive audience) that the only ways to improve profitability are to cut the cost of food or cut labor costs. This includes serving ingredients in violation of health code and making up reasons to fire senior employees who have garnered wage increases over years of faithful service. Also, Bon Appetite Management Company is a subsidiary of British international food service corporation the Compass Group which you may remember from the 2006 scandal in which Compass executives bribed U.N. officials to gain a valuable contract, or the on going scandal in which Compass has been shown to be over billing the U.S. government for food service in Iraq. This isn’t to diminish the value of Bon Appetite’s positive recent steps, just to contextualize it for those who may not follow this shit as closely.

  2. Max Rothstein

    While I totally support the tomato boycott and farm workers rights, let’s not get carried away singing Bon Appetite’s praise without a closer examination of their record of social accountability. In the summer of 2008 I worked for UNITE HERE the food service and hotel worker’s union that operates at Wesleyan’s campus. Based on personal experience in Chicago hotels and banquet halls I can say first hand that the management people at this company are a remarkable type of human scum. The industry is organized in such a way (i.e. supplying food to a captive audience) that the only ways to improve profitability are to cut the cost of food or cut labor costs. This includes serving ingredients in violation of health code and making up reasons to fire senior employees who have garnered wage increases over years of faithful service. Also, Bon Appetite Management Company is a subsidiary of British international food service corporation the Compass Group which you may remember from the 2006 scandal in which Compass executives bribed U.N. officials to gain a valuable contract, or the on going scandal in which Compass has been shown to be over billing the U.S. government for food service in Iraq. This isn’t to diminish the value of Bon Appetite’s positive recent steps, just to contextualize it for those who may not follow this shit as closely.

  3. anonymous

    This makes me like Bon Appetit so much more. In fact I might stop sneaking into Usdan and actually pay instead.

  4. anonymous

    This makes me like Bon Appetit so much more. In fact I might stop sneaking into Usdan and actually pay instead.

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