Horse Meat and Social Responsibility
The recent discovery of horse meat in fast food chains in the U.K. and around the world has started some interesting conversations. An inspection of 139 meat products showed that nearly two thirds of those products included unlisted ingredients such as donkey, goat, and water buffalo. The discoveries about what is in food has led many people to ask, “What else don’t we know about how our food is produced?”

Oxfam International has started a new project called Beyond the Brands. This project investigates how the world’s ten largest food and beverage companies operate and how they are fulfilling their social responsibilities to their workers and customers. Among the “Big 10” food companies are familiar names like Pepsico, Nestle, and Coca-Cola. These companies combined turn out huge profits around the world and, through their supply chains, employ the labor of millions in the developing world.

The companies are given scores in seven categories including women’s rights, business transparency, environmental responsibility, and workers’ access to land and clean water. The goal of the campaign is not only to pressure some of the world’s largest companies to do more but to help consumers know more about where their food is coming from and the conditions in which it is prepared. An Oxfam spokesperson claimed that these large food and beverage companies need to become more socially responsible. At the same time, most of these companies are doing just that, trying to be more responsible by offering solid employment, providing safe places to work, and working to create less pollution.

With this latest Oxfam initiative, the public can learn more about where food comes from, investigate how the workers are treated, and identify how responsible their employers are. Hopefully, this information will inspire these big businesses to focus on their own supply chains and maybe change the habits of thoughtful consumers. If “you are what you eat”, why not be a positive change?

– Kevin Sullivan

Source: IBI Times