PALO ALTO, Calif. — Operating more than 400 cafés for corporations, universities, museums and specialty venues in 31 states, Bon Appétit Management Company announced the launch of what it is calling the US foodservice industry’s most comprehensive farm-animal welfare policy to date.

Specifics include:

  • Requiring all 3 million lbs. of pork it serves per year be produced using higher-welfare group housing systems instead of gestation-crate confinement systems.
  • Switching all 11 million pre-cracked (liquid) eggs it uses annually to hens living in cage-free farms, as it already does for shell eggs, from hens confined in battery cages.
  • Dropping from its menus foie gras plus veal from calves confined in crates.
  • Increasing efforts to find the most responsible meat, poultry and egg producers that have received at least one of the four highest animal-welfare certifications — Animal Welfare Approved, Food Alliance, Humane Farm Animal Care or Global Animal Partnership.

Bon Appétit said all of these reforms are planned to be phased in by 2015. As part of its Low Carbon Diet initiative, which was introduced in 2007, the company will continue to offer and promote vegetarian options daily.

The company has used cage-free eggs since 2005 and endorsed legislation to outlaw gestation crates. Eight states have now passed such laws. It added it is also against routine use of antibiotics in farm animals.

“We’ve been asking the industry to do the right thing, but we can’t wait anymore,” said Fedele Bauccio, cofounder and CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company. “We have to send the message that these practices are unacceptable. If the supply doesn’t catch up by our deadline, we’ll do what we have to — even if that means cutting back on bacon.”

By 2015, 25 percent or more of its meat, poultry and egg purchases companywide will be sourced from producers that meet at least one of these four certifications, Bon Appétit vowed.

Bon Appétit Management Company calls itself an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities and specialty venues.