• International food giant Ahold is most commonly known in the United States by its grocery chains: Giant, Stop & Shop, and Topps.
• Ahold has a history of alleged fraud, discrimination, and labor abuse.
• Widespread public scandals including false advertising and inflating earnings by hundreds of billions of dollars have made Ahold less than credible.
• Ahold has been criticized for a lack of action regarding the plight of agricultural workers around the world who earn poverty wages.
• Find equitable businesses that carry safe products with Go Green.
-- Profile Updated 07/07/2011
Netherlands-based Royal Ahold operates a variety of businesses ranging from food distribution companies and grocery stores to computer equipment companies. Ahold USA is best known for its supermarket chains such as Giant Food and Stop & Shop stores, in addition to the American food distributor U.S. Foodservice. The company employs approximately 257,140 workers and reported revenues of $56.1 billion in 2005.
Fair Trade Your Supermarket
Have you ever been frustrated by searching the shelves of your local supermarket for Fair Trade chocolate or sugar, coffee or tea, rice or fresh fruit, only to find none available? Our new campaign gives you the tools you need to join with other Fair Trade advocates around the country, pushing more and more supermarkets to carry products that are certified to be good for people and the planet.
Please follow the link provided to help your Supermarket become Fair Trade.
Stop Factory Farm Organics
The Organic Consumers Association is calling for consumers to protect the integrity of certified organic dairy products. According to the campaign, two of the largest organic dairy companies in the nation, Horizon Organic (a subsidiary of Dean Foods), a supplier to Wal-Mart and many health food stores; and Aurora Organic, a supplier of private brand name organic milk to Costco, Safeway, Giant, Wild Oats and others, who together control 65% of the market, are purchasing the majority of their milk from feedlot dairies where the cows have little or no access to pasture.
These giant dairy feedlots regularly import calves from conventional farms, where animals have been fed slaughterhouse waste and genetically engineered grains, and injected or dosed with antibiotics. Sign the petition and send a message to the companies' CEOs and let them know you are boycotting their products until they comply with USDA organic standards.
There are no known affiliates associated with Ahold.
Quincy Center Plaza
Quincy, MA 02169 USA
Ethics and Governance
In May 2007, Mark Kaiser, the former chief marketing officer of Ahold subsidiary U.S. Foodservice Inc., was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined $50,000 for his role in the fraud scandal which shook the company in 2003. Kaiser could have received life in prison for the fraud which cost U.S. Foodservice 60 percent of its stock value.
-- Associated Press, 05/17/2007
Source URL: none available
The US Justice Department opted not to criminally prosecute Royal Ahold NV for its $800 million accounting scandal. In 2005, Ahold paid $1.1 billion to settle shareholder lawsuits after executives at Ahold subsidiary U.S. Foodservice were found committing serious accounting fraud. From 2000 to 2003, executives at U.S. Foodservice manipulated financial figures, inflated sales, and misreported earnings for its operations by $800 million. Company officials resigned following the uncovering of the scandal and official criminal charges were filed. 16 former Foodservice executives and suppliers were charged with crimes, including former chief financial officer Michael Resnick, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Companies such as Sara Lee and ConAgra were found to be conspirators in the fraud case.
-- Washington Post, 09/29/2006
Produce and seafood merchant, Brady M. Schofield, agreed to pay more than $700,000 to settle a lawsuit in which the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of profiting from insider information. In addition, Schofield was accused of submitting false paperwork which artificially inflated Ahold's profit for three years.
-- New York Times, 06/11/2006
Source URL: none available
Ahold's former CEO Cees van der Hoeven and former CFO Michiel Meurs were found guilty of fraud in one of the biggest financial scandals in Europe. Both men were fined and received 9 month suspended sentences. The executives were prosecuted for improperly recording sales from four subsidiaries in Scandinavia, Argentina and Brazil. Ahold restated its earnings from 1999 to 2002 by $5 billion less than originally reported, and company shares lost two-thirds of their value.
-- Washington Post, 05/22/2006
Union members working at two of the region's largest supermarket chains have approved a new contract with Giant Foods, owned by Royal Ahold NV, and with Safeway Inc. The contract includes a $1.50 wage increase over four years, an increase in starting rates for new hires, an increase in employer contributions to pension funds, advanced scheduling notices and no reduction in health care coverage. The agreement averted a possible strike by about 23,000 UFCW members.
-- Washington Post, 04/02/2008
To the detriment of small cooperatives, transnational corporations such Ahold, Wal-Mart, and Carrefour, are rapidly changing food distribution practices. According to researchers at Michigan State University, within 10 years supermarket chains in Latin America went from controlling 10 percent of the market to dominating 20 percent. While these conglomerates provide consumers low prices and convenience, their success has not translated into better living standards for many small farmers, particularly in Central America. In a study of 750 small-scale farmer organizations, done by the Office of Studies and Policies of Chile's Ministry of Agriculture, found that 8 out of 10 failed or barely survived if not for government aid due to the expansion of multinational chains.
-- Organic Consumers Association, 12/28/2004
Ahold is among a group of European food retailers that have developed strict technical and environmental guidelines for farmers to follow but allow labor standards to go largely ignored.
"Trading Away Our Rights: Women Working in Global Supply Chains"
-- Oxfam, 02/08/2004
Source URL: none available
Czech Republic officials uncovered evidence that Ahold subsidiary Hypernova had been falsifying employee time sheets and failing to pay overtime wages. In Breclav, officials from the labor department found two separate books of employee time sheets: one showing that employees worked more than the legal limit and another showing "regular" permitted by Czech law. Time sheets with "regular" hours were the only ones submitted to the labor department. Labor officials also discovered that Hypernova paid female employees less than their male counterparts.
-- Prague Post, 08/21/2003
Source URL: none available
Health and Safety
Giant foods, a subsidiary of Royal Ahold, has been criticized for carrying irradiated meat products in its stores. In 2002, consumer groups expressed concern over the chain’s move to carry irradiated ground beef because the process of irradiation has not been thoroughly tested for safety. Irradiation is used to kill bacteria in meat products but it also leads to the formation of chemical byproducts such as cyclobutanones that are not naturally occurring in food. The process remains controversial, as some lab test results have shown links between cyclobutanones and genetic and cellular harm in both rat and human cells. In addition, false advertising complaints were later filed against Giant for using promotional material that included unsubstantiated endorsements for irradiated meat products. The promotional material likened meat irradiation to the pasteurization of milk, and cited a false endorsement by the Mayo Clinic, when in fact the clinic had never stated approval of such a product.
-- Public Citizen, 11/14/2002
Source URL: www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=1271