As part of their collective commitment to health and wellness, Bon Appetit Management Company and Compass Group USA will contract to buy only yogurt from cows not treated with rBGH (also known as rBST) effective today.
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility (OPSR), which facilitates a nationwide coalition opposing rBGH, commended today's announcement from the two companies. According to Rick North, Oregon PSR's Project Director, 'Artificial growth hormone is known to cause harm to cows and may very well cause harm to humans. Congratulations to Bon Appetit Management Company and Compass Group for taking a stand on this issue. This change sends a clear signal to milk product manufacturers that major players in the food service industry want to serve products produced without rBGH, including yogurt. We applaud both companies for leading the industry another step in the right direction, making changes that support both animal welfare and human health.'
Bovine growth hormone occurs naturally in dairy cows and is present in all raw milk. Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a genetically engineered animal drug injected in to cows to increase milk production.
First approved by the FDA in 1993, the use of rBGH is highly controversial. rBGH is banned in most industrial nations including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all 27 nations of the European Union. Cows that receive rBGH injections experience higher rates of mastitis, an infection of the udder that leads to swelling and inflammation. Not only is this painful for the cow, it often forces dairy farmers to rely on antibiotics to treat these infections, creating a cycle of unnecessary medical intervention and possibly contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. The pharmaceutical labels on packages of rBGH list 16 toxic side effects, including hoof problems, increased pus in milk, heat stress, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.
The medical community has expressed deep concern that the use of these artificial hormones may also be harmful to human health. A significant body of scientific data has linked rBGH to possible increases in cancer and antibiotic resistance in humans. Although further study is needed, Bon Appetit and Compass Group prefer to take a precautionary approach, offering milk, and now yogurt, from cows not treated with rBGH to their customers and clients.
Bon Appetit Management Company
Back in 2002, Bon Appetit Management Company led the food service industry with a policy to purchase only milk from cows not treated with artificial bovine growth hormones. In 2010, Bon Appetit is expanding their commitment to include yogurt. This will impact over 400 locations in 30 states.
The newly expanded policy integrates perfectly with Bon Appetit's ten-year-old Farm to Fork program, which supports farms and producers that are small-scale, owner-operated, and sit within a 150 mile radius of the cafes they serve. According to Food and Water Watch, while 54% of large herd farmers use rBGH, only 8% of small herd farmers - the kind supported by Farm to Fork - use the artificial hormone.
Says CEO Fedele Bauccio, 'At Bon Appetit Management Company, we believe it is imperative that restaurant companies take an active role in promoting sustainable food systems. Buying our yogurt from manufacturers that ban artificial growth hormones is a triple win - for concerned consumers, conscientious dairy farmers, and committed businesses that are passionate about the importance of healthy animals and healthy foods.'
Compass Group USA
Following the lead of Bon Appetit Management Company, Compass Group USA decided in 2009 to serve only fresh milk from cows not treated with rBGH where available, and has committed to a 100% implementation by 2010. In 2009, Compass purchased approximately 294 million pounds (approximately 35 million gallons) of milk from cows not treated with rBGH.
Along with Bon Appetit, Compass Group is also committing to solely contracting to buy yogurt products from cows not treated with rBGH.
Marc Zammit, Vice President of Corporate Sustainability Initiatives and Culinary, Compass Group USA, concludes, 'This type of initiative continues to be an example of Compass Group's commitment to influence the supply chain. By making this pledge, we can address the needs and concerns of our guests.'
About Bon Appetit Management Company
Bon Appetit Management Company (www.bamco.com) is an onsite restaurant company offering full foodservice management to corporations, universities and specialty venues. Bon Appetit is committed to sourcing sustainable, local foods for all cafes throughout the country. A pioneer in environmentally-sound sourcing policies, Bon Appetit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, cage-free eggs, the connection between food and climate change, and most recently, farmworkers' rights. The company has received numerous awards for its work from organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, The Humane Society of the United States, and Food Alliance. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Bon Appetit has more than 400 cafes in 31 states, including eBay, the University of Pennsylvania and the Getty Center.
About Compass Group USA
Based in Charlotte NC, Compass Group USA (www.cgnad.com) is the leading foodservice and support services company with $9.2 billion in revenues in 2009. Compass Group is proud to lead the foodservice industry with groundbreaking policies that champion local farmers and fair trade; reduce the use of antibiotics in chicken, turkey and pork; commit to healthier oceans by purchasing sustainable seafood; focus on social justice; support sustainable agriculture and healthy rural economies; and promote farm animal welfare through 100 percent use of cage free shell eggs. With 386,000 associates worldwide, its parent company, UK-based Compass Group PLC had revenues of 13.4 billion pounds Sterling in the year to September 30, 2009.