GLOBAL advocacy group Equitas filed a complaint at the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry and the National Bureau of Investigation against a commercial farm for possible violations of food safety and animal welfare laws.
The group said it has footage that documents the violations of Gemsun Farms, which reportedly supplies eggs used in food products offered in Starbucks coffee shops nationwide,
According to Equitas’ complaint, their investigation, which produced the video footage, showed inhumane conditions for egg-laying hens that are kept at the Gemsun Farms.
Apart from the inadequate care and shelter for hens, which are in violation of the 1998 Animal Welfare Act, the videos also showed dirty and unsanitized housing, equipment, and surfaces coming in contact with animals.
Equitas said, consequently, these violations resulted in the production of eggs that do not measure up to the standards and are in apparent violation of the 2013 Food Safety Act.
It was later verified that the video footage established proof of location at Gemsun’s facility including GPS coordinates and footage of Gemsun signs, buildings, trucks, and staffers.
“Starbucks and Gemsun Farms are putting customers at increased food safety risks and allowing severe animal cruelty in their supply chain,” said Dana Taborosi, Campaign Manager at Equitas.
“We encourage the NBI and Bureau of Animal Industry to conduct a careful review and investigation of this facility, and we urge Starbucks to set a timeline to stop allowing cruel and unsafe caged eggs in its products in the Philippines.”
The European Food Safety Authority and a dozen international research teams have found that caged egg farms have up to a 33 times greater risk of contamination from key salmonella strains.
Battery cage egg production has been banned in over thirty countries including the entirety of the European Union, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and India, as well as in key parts of the United States and Australia.
Nearly every other leading international coffee chain has set a timeline for shifting to use only cage-free eggs in the Philippines and globally, including Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons, Costa Coffee, Pret A Manger, Illy, and others. Most of the world’s 25 largest QSR chains have also committed to using only cage-free eggs in the Philippines, including Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s.
Gemsun Farms and Starbucks have yet to issue their statement in reaction to the complaint.