CHARLOTTE, NC – Compass Group, the largest global food and support services company in operation, announced it will stop using pork from animals housed in gestation crates by 2017.

The move will affect the company's entire supply chain. Compass Group purchases 38 million lbs. of pork annually, according to the company. It directs dining operations in more than 10,000 schools, colleges, universities, corporations, hospitals and senior living centers. The company also runs similar operations at sports and entertainment venues and cultural institutions throughout the US.

"Animal welfare is an important issue to our clients, our guests and our company," said Steve Sweeney, chief executive officer of Chartwells, which provides dining services to schools and higher education, speaking on behalf of Compass Group. "Encouraged by Bon Appetit's efforts, we are proud to be the first large foodservice company to make this commitment." Chartwells provides foodservice at more than 225 colleges and universities, and 550 school districts.

Bon Appetit Management Company, one of the companies in Compass Group's portfolio, announced reforms to its purchasing policies on Feb. 21. The company committed to:

  • Requiring that all pork it serves — currently 3 million lbs. annually — be produced without gestation crate confinement systems, using group-housing systems instead.
  • Switching all of its pre-cracked (liquid) eggs — currently 11 million eggs annually — from hens housed in battery cages to hens living in cage-free farms, as it already does for shell eggs.
  • Entirely eliminating foie gras (livers of force-fed ducks) and veal from calves confined in crates from its menus.
  • Increasing efforts to seek out meat, poultry and egg producers who have received at least one of the four highest animal-welfare certifications.

Compass Group has supported initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and local food economies, use of cage free shell eggs, less use of antibiotics in animal production and sustainable seafood.