Have you ever had coffee or eaten at one of the Starbucks coffee shops in the Philippines? If so, you may want to think again. A shocking investigation released by Equitas reveals food safety risks, discrimination against Pilipino customers, and extreme animal cruelty behind the eggs used by Starbucks.
Gemsun Farms is one of the major egg suppliers to Starbucks in the Philippines. At this farm, feces, and dirt are caked on the bars of cages where eggs are laid, and excrement piles up just inches away from eggs and the birds themselves. Mother hens are crammed for nearly their entire lives in battery cages so small and cruel they are illegal in dozens of countries around the world. Wild birds were found to be coming in and out of the farm, causing a serious risk of spreading avian influenza.
Starbucks has pledged to use cage-free eggs, which are far safer, higher quality, and more humane, at its corporate-owned locations. However, Starbucks has not set a timeline for ending the sale of filthy and cruel eggs from caged hens in most of its stores in the Philippines and other countries. It seems that Starbucks thinks not all customers deserve the same quality of food ingredients.
Dozens of other leading restaurant and coffee chains have already committed to using only cage-free eggs across the US, Europe, and Asia including Costa Coffee, Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons, Pret A Manger, Illy, and many others. Leading QSR chains such as Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s have also pledged to use only cage-free eggs at all stores globally.
It’s time for Starbucks to stop supporting this severe animal cruelty and stop discriminating against Pilipino customers. It’s time for Starbucks to catch up with other leading international restaurants and coffee chains and set a timeline for selling only cage-free eggs globally.
Starbucks: I won’t drink coffee or eat at any of your restaurants, until you catch up with other leading food companies and commit to stop using eggs from filthy, cruel battery cages. It’s time for Starbucks to go 100% cage-free！
Over a dozen scientific studies have found that caged egg farms have dramatically higher rates of salmonella contamination. The European Food Safety Authority conducted the largest study ever on the issue, analyzing data from five thousand farms. It found that caged egg farms are 25 times more likely to be contaminated with key salmonella strains. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
There are numerous reasons why packing hens in cages causes food safety risks. Research by the United States Department of Agriculture shows the stress of cage confinement makes hens more vulnerable to disease. Cages are also hard to clean and disinfect, leading to “a larger volume of contaminated fecal material and dust.” (18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23)
Just like dogs and cats, chickens are smart, intelligent individuals that feel pleasure and pain. Packing an animal for nearly her entire life in a cage so small she can barely turn around is simply wrong. (24)
Battery cages are so cruel they have been banned in dozens of countries around the world. Every mainstream animal protection organization around the world condemns battery cages as cruel and inhumane. (25, 26, 27)
Here is what just a few such organizations have said:
“The most simple behaviours such as the ability to flap their wings or perch are denied. The SPCA is deeply concerned for the welfare of these millions of chickens.” Hong Kong SPCA
“Battery cages are extremely inhumane; they are not only very crowded, they also deny egg-laying hens the ability to nest and dust bathe…The food industry should use cage-free eggs as soon as possible” Taiwan SPCA
“Hens in cages are more prone to stress and injury, and an increased risk of salmonella.” World Animal Protection
These organisations are not associated with this website
Starbucks continues to sell customers food made with eggs from suppliers who confine hens in cruel and filthy battery cages
At these Starbucks egg suppliers, feces covers the equipment and gets smeared on eggs
Each mother hen spends nearly her entire life packed in a cage so small she can barely turn around
All video clips and photos on this site are in the public domain and can be downloaded and used freely by anyone, including the media.
All videos and photos on this site are from Gemsun Farms in Cuenca, Batangas, which supplies eggs to Starbucks locations in the Philippines.
Documentation that the footage was taken at this supplier’s farms, and the eggs from these suppliers are supplied at Starbucks, is available online Documentation that the footage was taken at this supplier’s farms, and the eggs from these suppliers are supplied at UNY, is available online here.
Equitas is a global non-profit consumer and animal protection organisation based in the UK.
Citations on the food safety risks and animal cruelty of battery cages
1: Van Hoorebeke S, Van Immerseel F, Schulz J, et al. 2010. Determination of the within and between flock prevalence and identification of risk factors for Salmonella infections in laying hen flocks housed in conventional and alternative systems. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 94(1-2):94-100.
2: Snow LC, Davies RH, Christiansen KH, et al. 2010. Investigation of risk factors for Salmonella on commercial egg-laying farms in Great Britain, 2004-2005. Veterinary Record 166(19):579-86.
3: 2010. Annual Report on Zoonoses in Denmark 2009. National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.
4: Van Hoorebeke S, Van Immerseel F, De Vylder J et al. 2010. The age of production system and previous Salmonella infections on farm are risk factors for low-level Salmonella infections in laying hen flocks. Poultry Science 89:1315-1319.
5: Huneau-Salaün A, Chemaly M, Le Bouquin S, et al. 2009. Risk factors for Salmonella enterica subsp. Enteric contamination in 5 French laying hen flocks at the end of the laying period. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 89:51-8.
6: Green AR, Wesley I, Trampel DW, et al. 2009 Air quality and bird health status in three types of commercial egg layer houses. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 18:605-621.
7: Schulz J, Luecking G, Dewulf J, Hartung J. 2009. Prevalence of Salmonella in German battery cages and alternative housing systems. 14th International congress of the International Society for Animal Hygiene: Sustainable animal husbandry : prevention is better than cure. pp. 699-702. http://www.safehouse-project.eu/vars/fichiers/pub_defaut/Schulz_Salmonella_ISAH%202009.ppt.
8: Namata H, Méroc E, Aerts M, et al. 2008. Salmonella in Belgian laying hens: an identification of risk factors. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 83(3-4):323-36.
9: Mahé A, Bougeard S, Huneau-Salaün A, et al. 2008. Bayesian estimation of flock-level sensitivity of detection of Salmonella spp. Enteritidis and Typhimurium according to the sampling procedure in French laying-hen houses. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 84(1-2):11-26.
10: Pieskus J, et al. 2008. Salmonella incidence in broiler and laying hens with the different housing systems. Journal of Poultry Science 45:227-231.
11: European Food Safety Authority. 2007. Report of the Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection on the Analysis of the baseline study on the prevalence of Salmonella in holdings of laying hen flocks of Gallus gallus. The EFSA Journal 97. www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/efsa_locale-1178620753812_1178620761896.htm.
12: Snow LC, Davies RH, Christiansen KH, et al. 2007. Survey of the prevalence of Salmonella species on commercial laying farms in the United Kingdom. The Veterinary Record 161(14):471-6.
13: Methner U, Diller R, Reiche R, and Böhland K. 2006. [Occurence of salmonellae in laying hens in different housing systems and inferences for control]. Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift 119(11-12):467-73.
14: Much P, Österreicher E, Lassnig. H. 2007. Results of the EU-wide Baseline Study on the Prevalence of Salmonella spp. in Holdings of Laying Hens in Austria. Archiv für Lebensmittelhygiene 58:225-229.
15: Stepien-Pysniak D. 2010. Occurrence of Gram-negative bacteria in hens’ eggs depending on their source and storage conditions. Polish Journal of Veterinary Sciences 13(3):507-13.
16: Humane Society International, “An HSI Report: Food Safety and Cage Egg Production” (2010). HSI Reports: Farm Animal Protection. 3. http://animalstudiesrepository.org/hsi_reps_fap/3
17: European Food Safety Authority. 2007. Report of the Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection on the Analysis of the baseline study on the prevalence of Salmonella in holdings of laying hen flocks of Gallus gallus. The EFSA Journal 97. www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/efsa_locale-1178620753812_1178620761896.htm
18: The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. 2004. The national Salmonella control programme for the production of table eggs and broilers 1996-2002. Fødevare Rapport 6, March.
19: Davies R and Breslin M. 2003. Observations on Salmonella contamination of commercial laying farms before and after cleaning and disinfection. The Veterinary Record 152(10):283-7.
20: Methner U, Rabsch W, Reissbrodt R, and Williams PH. 2008. Effect of norepinephrine on colonisation and systemic spread of Salmonella enterica in infected animals: Role of catecholate siderophore precursors and degradation products. International Journal of Medical Microbiology 298(5-6):429-39.
21: Bailey MT, Karaszewski JW, Lubach GR, Coe CL, and Lyte M. 1999. In vivo adaptation of attenuated Salmonella Typhimurium results in increased growth upon exposure to norepinephrine. Physiology and Behavior 67(3):359-64.
22: Shini S, Kaiser P, Shini A, and Bryden WL. 2008. Biological response of chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) induced by corticosterone and a bacterial endotoxin. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part B. 149(2):324-33.
23: Rostagno MH. 2009. Can stress in farm animals increase food safety risk? Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 6(7):767-76.
24: Marino, L. 2017. Thinking chickens: a review of cognition, emotion, and behavior in the domestic chicken. Animal Cognition 20(2): 127–147.
25: “European_Union_Council_Directive_1999/74/EC.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web 03 August 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Council_Directive_1999/74/EC
26: “Farm Animal Confinement Bans.” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Web. 03 August 2018, www.aspca.org/animal-protection/public-policy/farm-animal-confinement-bans
27: World Organization for Animal Health, “Terrestrial Animal Health Code” (2017). www.rr-africa.oie.int/docspdf/en/Codes/en_csat-vol1.pdf