Questioning Sodexo’s presence on campus

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Sodexo is well known on the Luther campus for being the company that supplies us with out food. But they are not simply a benign chef for college campuses. Our news editor Grace Onsrud, detailed in an earlier opinion piece Sodexo’s involvement in the prison industrial complex (it can be found on the Chips website, and you really should go read it).

The issues raised by Sodexo’s involvement in the prison industrial complex are very complex and require serious ethical deliberation, but these are not the only issues raised by having Sodexo present here on campus. In addition to their involvement in the ownership and operation of private prisons, which have been accused of human rights violations (including less than a month ago a woman being refused medical care while giving birth in one of their prisons), Sodexo has a long history of monopolization and union-busting.

In 2011, Sodexo crushed an attempt by the Service Employees International Union to unionize American Sodexo workers. This attempt to unionize was made because Sodexo has been accused of unfair wage practices. In fact, that same year the National Labor Relations Board filed an official complaint against Sodexo due to said unfair wage practices.

Nationwide, college campuses from the East Coast to the West protested against the use of Sodexo food on their campus. Around 40 students from the University of Washington were arrested while protesting against their college’s contract with Sodexo. These issues have serious implications for Luther dining service workers and students eating the food they prepare.

Now, it would be easy to trash the caf food and say that it is terrible. But on some level, taste is subjective, and I myself often eat at the caf and find it not that bad. However, there are official reports that Sodexo’s food is just the opposite of that: bad.

In 2013, all the frozen food Sodexo provided to Great Britain was recalled after horse meat was found in a DNA sample of their food. In 2017, the British Army, whose food was supplied by Sodexo, started a social media campaign about the poor quality of food Sodexo was giving them. This social media campaign ended with a petition to British Parliament. The food Sodexo served them was so bad that they ended up complaining to the federal government. This information cooperates with the popular perception of the food Sodexo makes for us here at Luther.

Many people have anecdotal stories of uncooked chicken, unappetizing meals, and even food improving vastly when it’s visit day for the prospies. This doesn’t mean that Luther needs to dump Sodexo immediately, as the lowered cost is obviously a benefit, but maybe its time for Luther to explore other alternatives to Sodexo’s food.

 

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chips or organizations with which the author(s) are associated.

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