McDonald's and Target's (Former) Egg Supplier Caught on Video

The Food and Drug Administration gave Sparboe Farms poor reviews at five locations. This news and an undercover video by an animal-rights group inspired McDonald's and Target to drop the egg supplier. The graphic video [watch at your own risk] shows chickens terribly mistreated and living in unsanitary conditions.

In the first two paragraphs, McDonald's statement explains the decision and reassures customers:

McDonald's expects all of our suppliers to meet our stringent requirements for delivering high quality food prepared in a humane and responsible manner.  Based upon recent information, we have informed our direct supplier, Cargill, that we are no longer accepting eggs from its supplier, Sparboe.  This decision is based on McDonald's and Cargill's concern regarding the management of Sparboe's facilities.

This is not a food safety issue for our menu items.  We can assure our customers that eggs in our entire supply chain meet McDonald's high standards for quality and safety. 

Target explains its decision in this way:

Target is committed to delivering outstanding quality and uncompromising safety with every owned-brand food product. We expect and rely on our vendors to operate facilities that meet industry standards and regulatory requirements.

Having been made aware of the unacceptable conditions in the company's egg laying facilities, effective immediately, Target will discontinue its business relationship with Sparboe Farms. We are currently in the process of notifying our teams to remove the product from store shelves.

Sparboe Farms developed a website and video by the company president to convey its own position:

Discussion Starters:

  • Compare Target's and McDonald's full statements. What differences do you notice, and which does a better job?

  • Analyze Sparboe Farm's response. Review the website, president's video, letter, and other messages. In what ways is each effective and ineffective in rebuilding Sparboe's image?