• Yum! Brands owns and franchises fast food restaurants found in more than 100 countries under the names Taco Bell, KFC Long John Silver's, and A&W.
• Yum! has been cited for sourcing toys from sweatshops and abusing labor standards in its stores.
• Yum! has faced criticism for lacking transparency with regard to GMOs in its food and has failed to address the environmental damages.
• Support local markets and restaurants using Go Green.
-- Profile Updated 03/09/2011
About Yum! Brands
Yum! Brands owns and franchises over 34,500 fast food restaurants found in more than 100 countries under the names Taco Bell, KFC Long John Silver's, and A & W All-American Food Restaurant. In 2006 the company employed 280,000 people and reported revenues of $9.56 billion.
Fair Wages for Farm Workers
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is calling on fast-food companies, particularly McDonald's, to improve conditions for agricultural workers in their supply chains and advance the labor precedents set by Yum! Brands. According to CIW, McDonald's has worked with its suppliers to undermine the improved wages, worker participation, and transparency achieved in the CIW-Yum! Brands agreement. Take action with CIW now and tell McDonald's to follow Yum! Brands in advancing human rights in the agri-food industry. Click on the URL below.
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- Taco Bell Corp. - Irvine, CA
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- WMCR Co. L.L.C. - Alpena, MI
- YUM! Brands - Hagerstown, MD
- Yum! Restaurants International (Canada) LP - Vaughan, Canada
- Yum! Restaurants International - Dallas, TX
Contact Yum! Brands
Louisville, KY 40213 USA
- In early 2001, 400 Florida farm workers, claiming they were un…
Yum! has been involved in disputes over Workers' Rights:
- In early 2001, 400 Florida farm workers, claiming they were underpaid, picketed and urged a national boycott of Taco Bell, although the company does not directly employ them. The farm workers said they were frustrated trying to deal with their employers and felt that the chain's target market of 18 to 24 year olds would be sympathetic to their cause. Workers are paid 40 to 45 cents for every 32 pounds of tomatoes they pick for Taco Bell and other companies. The US Department of Labor reports that farm workers average $7,500 a year on average and receive no benefits.
- In February 2003 about 60 tomato pickers from Florida picketed the Irvine headquarters of Taco Bell and began a hunger strike, protesting low wages and a lack of paid overtime and health benefits from the companies that sell tomatoes to Taco Bell. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has asked Taco Bell to pressure growers into improving working conditions and to pay growers an extra penny for each pound of tomatoes it buys in order to boost pickers' wages. Currently, the laborers say that they earn between $7,000 and $7,500 a year and a penny increase would nearly double their earnings. However Taco Bell said the labor dispute is between the workers and their employers, calling the protesters efforts "misdirected." A spokesperson for Taco Bell said, "They do not work for Taco Bell" and that the company bought only 2.8 million pounds of tomatoes from one Florida grower, which accounted for less than 1% of the tomatoes distributed by the company.
- In May 2001 Pizza Hut paid $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed against the company for failing to produce overtime pay. The suit was filed by salaried workers who claimed they were misclassified as exempt from time-and-a-half overtime wages.
- In February 2000, Taco Bell agreed to pay $9 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by 3,000 California employees who stated that they were not paid overtime.
-- Business-HumanRights.org, 07/17/2007
Source URL: www.business-humanrights.org
Beijing KFC employees filed at least four lawsuits against the company for unfair employment practices. KFC is accused of wildly fluctuating employee work hours to avoid providing legally entitled benefits and protections, including maternity leave and severance pay. KFC also violated The Regulations on Adjusting the Minimum Wage Level and Basic Living Expenses in Beijing, which entitles employees to basic living expenses if their employers do not provide regular work.
-- China Labor Bulletin, 07/27/2006
A 2005 report by China Labor Watch titled “The Toy Industry in China: Undermining Workers’ Rights and Rule of Law,” highlights the violations of worker rights in toy plants in Dongguan City, Guangdong Province. The report specifically highlights the Kai Long manufacturing plant in Hong Kong, which exports toys for Hasbro, Mattel, McDonald’s, and KFC. Violations of international labor laws and those of China include:
- Routine 14.5 hour weekdays with only one day off a month
- Wages at 59 percent of the local minimum wage standard in Dongguan City
- No overtime compensation
- Workers deprived of 43 percent of their legal wage, earning .0125 to .025 cents per toy they produce
- Inadequate and unsanitary working conditions and dorm rooms
- No insurance for regular workers
- No independent trade unions
Li Qiang, the executive director of China’s Labor Watch commented: “Abusive conditions persist, threatening to undermine any gains made in workers’ standard of living and hindering the development of rule of law in China.”
-- China Labor Watch, 09/01/2005
KFC and Pizza Hut were among six food franchises that were found under-paying workers and hiring minors, according to a report by a Korean government department. The ministry investigated the fast-food sector in July and discovered that more than 14,000 part-time workers were not being paid properly for over-time work. The fast-food chains have been ordered to repay almost $2 million in wages. Overall, the ministry’s report said KFC was the worst offender, with payment with-held from 5,119 of its employees. Also, the investigation revealed that there were thousands of cases of under-age employment--under 15 years old-- and of forcing part-time employees to work longer than the maximum seven hours a day.
-- Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia, 08/12/2004
Source URL: www.csr-asia.com/index.php?p=155
Yum! Brands scored a one out of 100 in "The Climate Counts Company Scorecard Report." The report judged companies on their commitment to reversing climate change. The creation, manufacturing, and transportation of goods greatly contribute to pollution.
-- Climate Counts, 06/18/2007
Major soya traders, Cargill, ADM, Bunge, Creyfus, and Amaggi, have committed to a limited two year moratorium of buying soya from deforested areas. This came after McDonald’s and other large food retailers agreed to stop selling chicken fed on soya grown in deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest and worked with Greenpeace to develop a zero deforestation plan. However, Yum! Brands refuses to discuss their role in Amazon rainforest destruction. Take action now to tell Yum! Brands to take the Amazon off the menu.
-- Greenpeace, 07/25/2006
The Laguna Lake Development Authority in Manila, Philippines ordered KFC to close its area store on the grounds of violating effluent emissions standards. The state agency found that KFC had been discharging untreated waste water into a lake supplying water to Manila since April 2005. Tests showed contaminants in the water at one thousand times the legal limit. KFC was also ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 pesos (US$18.94) per day, backdated to April 11, 2005.
-- Planet Ark, 05/31/2006
The Amazon rainforest is home to nearly 10% of the world's mammals, 15% of the world's known land-based plant species, and about 220,000 people from over 180 different indigenous nations. However, an estimated 1.2 million hectares of what was once rainforest have been destroyed, mostly illegally, to grow soybeans for animal feed. Greenpeace’s report titled, “Eating up the Amazon,” highlights the connections between rainforest destruction, rapid expansion of soy farming, and KFC’s European branch. KFC purchases chicken from Sun Valley, which is a division of the Cargill group. Cargill operates 13 silos in the Amazon rainforest region and is the leading corporation financing and facilitating rainforest destruction. According to Greenpeace’s Amazonia Campaign coordinator Paulo Adario, “KFC needs to take deforestation off the menu before it is too late for the largest tropical forest on Earth.”
-- Greenpeace USA, 04/01/2006
Ethics and Governance
In March 2001, a guilty verdict was handed down in a class action lawsuit filed by thousands of current and former Taco Bell Corp. employees in Oregon who claimed that their time cards were doctored so that store managers could avoid paying overtime. According to an attorney for the plaintiffs damages and penalties could be in the millions of dollars. An attorney for Taco Bell said that when the company was made aware of the situation it fired several managers. Taco Bell is considering appealing the decision.
-- Nation's Restaurant News, 03/26/2001
- As of December 2003, KFC …
Kentucky Fried Chicken, owned by Yum!, has been criticized for its Animal Welfare Practices:
- As of December 2003, KFC refused to respond to PETA’s requests that the company produce proof it has reduced the cruel treatment of animals by their suppliers. PETA began its "Kentucky Fried Cruelty" campaign against KFC after McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s agreed to adopt new measures for the treatment of animals raised by their suppliers. PETA’s shareholder resolution with Yum! Brands calls upon the company to issue a report detailing exactly how its animal-welfare practices conform to its stated goal to only deal with suppliers who "provide an environment that is free from cruelty, abuse and neglect."
- In December 2003, members of PETA protested the abusive treatment of chickens by KFC’s suppliers at the Yum! Brands’ 2003 Conference for Investors and Analysts. Although PETA had registered legitimately for the conference as a shareholder (PETA has purchased Yum! stock), PETA was denied entrance to the conference.
- In July 2003, PETA filed a complaint in California Superior Court to seek an injunction against KFC and its parent company, Yum! For making false statements about its animal welfare practices in advertisements and and on the company's website. According to PETA, these statemetns mislead consumers and are "unlawfully deceptive." PETA claims KFC abuses the more than 700 million chickens raised and slaughtered for its operations each year.
- In July 2004 an undercover Peta activist, who worked in Pilgrim Pride slaughterhouse for 8 months, released a video documenting mass cruelty by Pilgrim's workers against chickens in slaughterhouses, including stamping on live birds and throwing them against walls. Pilgrim Pride is a major supplier of chickens to KFC. Peta say their agent witnessed "hundreds" of acts of cruelty. The company responded by releasing the following statement: "KFC is appalled by the actions of Pilgrim's Pride employees at this one facility". The company has sent its own inspector to the plant, and asked Pilgrim's Pride to fire some 11 workers, which it did. KFC has also asked the supplier to install security cameras to monitor the plant in future. KFC also said it "sent a letter to all suppliers to make sure they continue to follow the industry's animal welfare guidelines."
-- PETA, 07/23/2007
Source URL: www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/h-timeline.asp
In 2006, David C. Novak earned in $12,432,093 in total compensation. This is equivalent to earning $239,078 per week.
-- AFL-CIO, 04/05/2006
There has been a growing movement in the African-American community, led by rap mogul and Def Jam records chairman Russell Simmons and former NAACP Presidents, to shun Kentucky Fried Chicken for its “grossly inhumane” slaughter practices. Simmons has talked with officials in the chain’s parent company, Yum! Brands, and threatens to stage a boycott if the company does not reform in due time. Simmons promotes the information and research released by PETA to raise awareness of KFC’s severe animal rights infractions. PETA claims that the 750 million chickens KFC raises each year are “often fully conscious when their throats are cut and dumped into tanks of scalding water to remove their feathers.”
-- Organic Consumers Association, 02/15/2005
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged KFC Corporation with making false claims in a national television advertising campaign about the relative nutritional value and healthiness of its fried chicken and with making false claims that its fried chicken is compatible with certain popular weight-loss programs. One ad showed a woman placing a bucket of KFC fried chicken in front of her husband and saying, “Remember how we talked about eating better? Well, it starts today!” The ad then states that “Two KFC breasts have less fat than a BK Whopper.” Although it is true that the two fried chicken breasts have slightly less total fat and saturated fat than a Whopper, they have more than three times the trans fat and cholesterol, more than twice the sodium, and more calories.
-- Federal Trade Commission, 06/03/2004
Source URL: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/06/kfccorp.shtm
Health and Safety
A family in San Fernando, California claims to have found a maggot inside their bucket of KFC chicken on January 25, 2011. They had brought the bucket home to share for dinner when the youngest child said, “There’s a maggot in my chicken.” Almost immediately after, the child started throwing up, followed by the rest of his family feeling sick. The family bagged the chicken as evidence and went to the doctor where they were told they had an infection in the intestine. The family reports that KFC did not return their calls but once they shared their story with the local news source, lawyers from KFC called and asked the family to refrain from speaking to the media.
-- 100% Recycled Paperboard Alliance, 01/26/2011
Taco Bell is facing a lawsuit for falsely advertising their meat fillings found in several of their products as “beef”; the United States government refers to beef as 70 percent beef and 30 percent fat, at the minimum, and Taco Bell’s filling doesn’t even contain 35 percent of beef. Even if Taco Bell advertised and referred to this product as some sort of “meat filling,” its current mixture does not even satisfy the minimum 40 percent meat requirement. One of the attorneys of the Alabama firm suing Taco Bell that tested the product reports that the other 65 percent of the controversial “beef” includes non-beef products, ranging from soybeans to vague terms such as “spices” to other preservatives that he reports he “can’t even pronounce and [doesn’t] know what they are.”
-- National Public Radio (NPR), 01/25/2011
KFC has recently released and heavily marketed its new “Grilled Chicken” product, supposedly a health alternative to their staple fried chicken. KFC has been advertising this new product as revolutionizing the brand, with ads asking consumers to “Unthink what you thought about KFC.” However, when looking at the list of ingredients and the calorie content, this new allegedly “healthy” and “natural” option is not very different from the chain’s other products. For example, the first ingredient is “Fresh chicken marinated with salt, sodium phosphate (more salt) and MSG.” The first two, and thus two most abundant, ingredients of the seasoning is maltodextrin, or sugar, and (more) salt. The fourth ingredients are partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil which were undoubtedly genetically engineered ingredients as well as sources of trans fat due to the processing involved in partial hydrogenation. The fifth ingredient is (more) MSG and the eighth ingredient is “natural flavor,” which is deceivingly still an artificial chemical additive.
-- KFC, 10/01/2010
The new marketed “healthy alternative Grilled Chicken” from KFC can sometimes even have more calories than the chain’s more staple “Original Recipe” and even “Extra Crispy” fried chicken. For example, a single breast of grilled chicken can have 210 calories which is more calories than every cut of the Original Recipe chicken except for the breast. That same single breast of grilled chicken has more calories than even the Extra Crispy whole wing and drumstick cuts.
-- KFC, 10/01/2010
Taco Bell was linked to a salmonella outbreak in Ohio in August 2010. The outbreak has sickened at least 25 Ohioans, 10 of whom were hospitalized.
-- Columbus Dispatch, 08/10/2010
PETA started a tour in April 2010 to spread its anti-KFC hearse around the country to counter the fast food chain’s newest product, the “Double Down.” The dubbed “vilest food product created by man” consists of bacon and cheese sandwiched between two fried chicken breasts, racking up 540 calories, 32g of fat and 1,380mg of sodium.
-- PETA, 04/12/2010
In August 2005 California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed suit against nine producers of potato chips and french fries concerning toxic contents in their popular foods. Lockyer is seeking a court order requiring the companies to warn consumers that some of their food products contain acrylamide, a chemical identified by the state as a human carcinogen. Acrylamide is a byproduct created through the reaction of chemicals in food to high heat, and cooked potato products contain higher levels of acrylamide than other foods. Plaintiffs in the case include McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Frito Lay, H.J. Heinz, Proctor & Gamble and Wendy's. In April 2007, KFC agreed to display the warning and pay $341,000 in civil penalties.
-- CorpWatch, 04/25/2007
Source URL: www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14468
Taco Bell suffered from an E. coli outbreak in December 2006, resulting in at least 62 sickened customers in the Northeast. Stephen Minnis has filed a lawsuit against Yum Brands Inc, Taco Bell’s parent company, in federal court, saying he got sick and has been hospitalized twice after eating food at his local Taco Bell; Minnis is accusing the company of negligence and violating federal, state and local food-safety regulations. Investigators of the outbreak are focusing on green onions after testing suggested the bacteria was traced back to tainted scallions. Taco Bell has ordered all green onions removed from its 5,800 restaurants nationwide.
-- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/11/2006
Yum! Brands shareholders presented a 2005 resolution requesting a report on the impacts of genetically engineered products. The report is to include information on the extent of GE product use, the environmental impacts of continued GE product use, and a plan for phasing out genetically engineered products.
-- Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, 05/18/2006
In light of the EPA’s on-going investigation of the PFOA family of manufacturing chemicals which are known to contain the questionably hazardous chemical C-8, in July 2003, the Environmental Working Group asked popular fast food companies to disclose whether the food packaging products they use contained a chemical coating made of fluorinated telomers. DuPont, the first manufacturer of Teflon, which is produced with C-8 claims the chemical is not harmful to humans, but it has been found to cause reproductive and developmental problems in laboratory animals. Yum! declined to reply to EWG inquiries about the contents of its fast food packaging wrappers.
-- Environmental Working Group, 07/10/2003
Source URL: www.ewg.org/node/21319