Bon Appétit Management Co. recently started their newest campaign, “The Low Carbon Diet,” to raise awareness about the affects of food choice on global warming. Monday, students were greeted by a giant cardboard cutout which posed the question “Is my cheeseburger causing global warming?” This only fueled rumors that beef is being taken off the menu at Sparks in order to curb atmospheric pollutants. Shedding light on these rumors was the original intent of this article, however, in my research I came across something much more serious, stretching from Bon Appétit’s parent company to the United Nations, and believe it or not, even Al Qaeda.
First, let us explore recent rumors. A quick read of their website explained that all Bon Appétit Cafés are in fact reducing beef by 25%, since cattle are a large source of methane gas. Unfortunately, a reduction in price isn’t also included, but after sifting through a myriad of socialist rhetoric, you’ll find their website explains it is our “social responsibility” and obligation to accept these changes. Please understand, I am not against “going green”, but at Wabash we already have very little say in what we eat and absolutely no voice in how much we pay; now our choices have just gotten slimmer. Naturally, this libertarian is going to sharpen his ax when his already pricey $7 hamburger is replaced with tofu for the sake of the “greater good”.
However, it was their political blog which I found most interesting. The latest entry leads with, “Politics makes strange bedfellows and even stranger dinner plates.” Bon Appétit should know. They proclaim, “We are proud to say we truly have a seat with advocacy groups.” Their mission statement alone provides enough proof of their skewed priorities; it lacks a single mention of food or catering services, and is instead loaded with goals “to educate consumers” about “global environment” and “to activate them to make change.” If not for glossy photos of world class cuisine, one would forget they are in the catering business at all. After reading about legislation Bon Appétit is supporting and congressman they don’t like, I decided to search with the Federal Election Commission to find out exactly which lobbyists and politicians our meal plans are supporting. Instead, I found something much more concerning.
Bon Appétit Management Co. is owned by Compass Group, PLC. The same Compass Group that was indicted by the United Nations for a bid-rigging scandal which robbed its competitors of as much as $351 million in food supply contracts to UN peacekeeping forces in Liberia. Peter Harris, a member of Compass Group’s Board of Directors and touted as the corporation’s next CEO, was simultaneously Director of mysterious British Virgin Islands based Strategic International Alliance, LTD (SIA). SIA purchased another company named IHC Services.
IHC Services was actually a front business, an intermediary by which Compass Group bribed UN officials and illegally acquired Top Secret UN documents and proprietary information of its competitors. Serving as the Chairman of IHC Services was Giandomenico Picco, personal representative of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In a scheme that included a secret Caribbean bank account, Andy Seiwert, Executive of a Compass Group subsidiary, received secret information from another UN official, procurement officer Alexander Yakolev, in exchange for nearly $1 million in bribes.
Yakolev supplied Compass Group with competitors’ bid information, allowing a Compass Group subsidiary, known as ESS, to outbid other food service companies by pennies per package. This forced competitors to lower prices in contracts all over the world. As a result, food service provider ES-KO is suing Compass Group for as much as $623 million, while another food service provider, Supreme Food Service AG, is suing for $125 million.
In addition, the former 100% shareholder of IHC Services, was a Luxembourg firm called Torno S. A. H., majority owned by Engelbert Schreiber, Jr. and Dario Fischer. Schreiber has business ties with reported money launderers for Al Qaeda.
Much of the available information used in this article was first released by Fox News in 2006, causing Compass Group to lose millions in shareholdings. After an internal investigation by Compass Group, a press release was submitted explaining that the few individuals involved were fired and facing charges. Competitor’s claim this was a cover-up by Compass Group to distance themselves from their subsidiaries and save their shareholdings. Today, over a hundred unnamed defendants within Compass Group and its subsidiaries face charges, while the scandal awaits more U.S. and UN judicial proceedings.
Meanwhile, back in Crawfordsville, IN, Wabash students await the next guilt campaign by Bon Appétit Management Co. “Java Jolt: Adding Ethics to Your Daily Brew” is intended to remind us of the social and environmental implications of which coffee we drink. I don’t expect much actual success from the next Bon Appétit ethics campaign, considering that our money is going to Bon Appétit’s evil parent company regardless of what we drink.
If Bon Appétit Management Co. really wants to guilt its patrons across the continent, it need simply to remind us that our money supports a corporation that steals from American and foreign taxpayers and UN peacekeepers all over the globe. I can certainly assure you that this approach would be more affective in making consumers reconsider their food choices—maybe even their catering companies. Of course, one might argue Bon Appétit has little say in the actions of its owner—after all, “you can’t choose your parents”—but it is still hard to take the high road, even if you are the “socially conscience” child of Satan.