Which Food Service Companies Ban Gestation Stalls?

It seems like almost every month another food service provider
breaks with the news that they are going to be phasing out gestation stalls. I
have scoured searched a little bit on the internet for a succinct list of all these food companies but
haven’t been very successful. Then I thought to myself, “Self, I bet there are
other people who would like to know this information – you should find and
combine all of this for the folks on the internet to find.” So here is my list.
I may not have found all of them but if you know of one I have missed, please
let me know and I’ll keep the list updated!
These are the companies who have committed to sourcing pork from producers who don’t use gestation stalls or are phasing them out of their own facilities:
Atlantic Premium Brands – supplier to Wal-Mart
Au Bon Pain
Bon Appetit Management Company
Bruegger’s Bagels
Burger King
Campbell Soup
Carl’s Jr
Carnival Cruise Line
Compass Group
Cracker Barrel
Dunkin’ Brands
Einstein Noah Restaurant Group
Fresh Enterprises (Baja Fresh, Canyon’s
General Mills
Harris Teeter Supermarkets
Hillshire Brands (Jimmy Dean, Ballpark)
Hormel Foods
Jack in the Box
Kraft Foods/Oscar Mayer
Marriott International
Metz Culinary Management
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
Royal Caribbean
Smithfield Foods
The Cheesecake Factory
Wolfgang Puck-owned restaurants
Whole Foods
Williams Sausage Company
Not only have these food service companies decided to
phase out gestation stalls, there are nine states – Arizona, California,
Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island – who have
already passed laws to ban the use of gestation crates from pork supply chain
I don’t see this pattern of phasing out gestation crates ending anytime
soon. So, until the next company issues a press release here is the
list. Again, please let me know if I missed any.
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~


9 responses to “Which Food Service Companies Ban Gestation Stalls?”

  1. Thank you for posting this! I've looked for a list as well, and tried to make one for myself, but it's hard to keep up with everyone. Sadly it's becoming almost impossible to not shop at/support these places because it seems like everyone is doing. I work with sows in gestation crates everyday and it really bothers me that very soon they will be a thing of the past, especially since people ban them in the name of animal welfare – but moving to group housing will probably have the opposite effect.

  2. It's important to note that none of these businesses – with the exception of McDonald's – consulted suppliers before being forced to make these decisions by HSUS. I use the word "forced" because HSUS puts these businesses' PR departments in a bind by saying that they will target them with undercover videos, etc. unless they commit to going gestation crate-free. It's going to be a real mess when these businesses actually try to demand these changes from pork suppliers (especially all the fast food restaurants who want to keep their prices low – it ain't gonna happen!).

  3. Great insight ladies – and Meghan, I didn't know that part about consulting suppliers. I am not sure what the right answer is but I don't think forcing unproven 'better' practices is going to help anything. Just my opinion though- thanks for the comments!

  4. It all depends on if the really big buyers actually follow through with their publicly stated commitments. If they do, the gestation stalls will go. If they don't the gestation stalls will stay.

    If all or even most of these companies on that list – Aramark, Cargill, Compas Group, Kroger, Smithfield Foods, Walmart – actually follow through with their commitement, then those farmers who are using gestation stalls will have a really tough time selling their pigs.

    The simple truth of things is that pork production, processing and sales have become so concentrated that if the big buyers say frog, then the producers have to jump or get into another line of business.

    I'm seeing some of the same pressure put on produce growers by the big distributors through the Leafy Greens marketing agreements, especially the California Leafy Greens Marketing Aggreement. When a big distributor like Sysco, or Walmart or Kroger says you do these things, you do them, or you're going to have a lot of lettuce rotting in the field.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Are you sure Walmart is on there? That would be the big tipping point for the industry. Also, I believe Cargill, Hormel and Smithfield (the packers) still plan to buy from producers using gestation crates; they are just eliminating them from the farms that they own in the future. I imagine it will be very hard to separate these animals, so these food service companies will have to realize the logistical problems, or start paying a premium.

  6. Anonymous – thanks for making me clarify that. Atlantic Premium is one of Wal-Mart's suppliers and they have committed to phasing out gestation stalls.
    It is very hard to distinguish between these – the slaughter plants have no way of knowing without implementing more labor for record keeping and tracking. I clarified a few things up top so thanks for pointing them out.

  7. Joanne – I agree. But that's the nature of our economy and the industry. Producers adapt and conform or they sink. It's one of the things that make us unique in the U.S – we don't depend on the government to save us and the government doesn't regulate who gets how much food.

  8. Is there anyway be can work to inform them that we are doing are best to provide healthy affordable food or is change unavoidable?

  9. Karoline – though we are always working to provide the facts about why we use gestation crates, I honestly don't see anyway to avoid the eventual elimination of gestation crates. Although, I think it will be a voluntary thing by retailers and not necessarily a legislative issue.