On January 30, Dole Food Company announced that it is going to put new vending machines in schools, to give kids more healthy options, like fruit salads, for lunch. Dole says it has done this because of its "duty as a responsible corporate citizen". How can Dole broadcast its responsibility to US schoolchildren while ignoring its responsibility to its employees abroad? A responsible corporate citizen would not refuse its workers the right to a safe, healthy workplace and the right to organize and negotiate collective bargaining agreements. Yet that is exactly what Dole is doing on its flower plantations in Colombia - perhaps the very plantations that will be producing the flowers that you will buy next week for Valentine's Day. For more information about Dole's treatment of Colombian workers, visit the Fairness in Flowers on our website or come to some of our DC events February 12-14, featuring Dole flower worker Betty Fuentes who will share her first-hand experiences in the cut flower industry.
See below to read Dole's announcement about its upcoming healthy food program:
Jan. 30, 2007
Company, Inc., today announced that it is partnering with national
organizations to launch a pilot program that will introduce innovative new
vending machines to schools featuring healthy food products. The new vending
machines will supply DOLE brand healthy foods such as fresh fruits and Fruit
Bowls(R), in conjunction with cafeteria-prepared salads, sandwich wraps and
milk, giving school children greater access to healthy and nutritious foods.
These machines utilize School Link Technology software.
To launch the first phase of this program, vending machines will be placed in 15 schools across four states in February. The schools are located in Mesa, Arizona;
Texas Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2005 revenues of $5.9 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. Dole markets a growing line of packaged foods and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
"The healthy school vending machine program is a natural extension of our company-wide commitment to promoting healthy food choices for overall well-being," said Richard Dahl, president and chief operating officer of Dole Food Company, Inc. "Statistics show that children do not eat enough balanced, nutritious meals. It is especially hard for kids in schools, where meal and snack options are usually limited. We are excited to be working with School Link Technologies to provide these vending machines to students."
Studies show that while many Americans want healthier snacks, they often find such options are less available. Dahl spoke of the importance in providing healthier options to consumers, especially children, stating, "Dole's duty as a responsible corporate citizen is to help educate children about the importance of a balanced diet, and make sure they have access to the healthy foods that are good for them," said Dahl.
All of the snacks and meals chosen for the vending machines are USDA approved and reimbursable under its guidelines. The machines will allow students to skip long lunch lines, while also making breakfast and snack occasions available, all reimbursable by USDA National School Lunch and National School Breakfast Programs.
At present, healthy vending presents an opportunity to meet Dole's long term goals: marketing meal and snack solutions that meet Child Nutrition Authorization Act requirements (and the subsequent changes in nutrition requirements in schools) and the Competitive Food Guidelines of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation; and assisting in the development of universal solutions to school health and wellness programs.
Dole is partnering with the National Dairy Board, Wurlitzer, in-Team consulting services and School Link Technologies to launch this program. The team expects to expand the program to additional schools later this year.