Thursday, March 13, 2014

Whatever happened to this Chiquita promise?

Local and state officials deciding whether Chiquita should keep $22 million in incentives if it moves its headquarters from Charlotte to Ireland are examining whether the company will keep the promises it made to earn that cash.

One of those promises – donating salad bars to Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools – was never fulfilled, though apparently that’s not Chiquita’s fault.

When Charlotte was mulling extraordinary incentives to entice Chiquita from Cincinnati, Charlotte Chamber chief Bob Morgan touted the company as a good corporate citizen. In a closed session with the City Council in September 2011, Morgan referred three separate times to Chiquita’s “Salads in Schools” program. The company would donate salad bars in CMS schools, he said, to help fight childhood obesity.

Council members asked Morgan what made Chiquita deserve special treatment. Among other things, Morgan said:

“The company has committed to Gov. (Bev) Perdue that it will bring to Charlotte a program that is launched in Cincinnati called Salads in Schools where they will donate their product to help lead the fight against childhood obesity with their products.”

Later, council member David Howard asked again about Chiquita being a good corporate citizen. Again, according to the session minutes, Morgan referred to the salads program.

“They are the leading (corporation) trying to help fight childhood obesity, not just at their presence in Cincinnati, but in other markets,” Morgan said. “They have partnered with the First Lady, Michelle Obama, on that subject, and they have committed to bring that program here should they move their headquarters to Charlotte.”

Later, then-council member Patrick Cannon asked again about Chiquita’s record contributing to community. Again, Morgan cited the Salads in Schools program, among other things.

Nearly three years later, Chiquita has started no Salads in Schools program in Charlotte. What happened?

A CMS spokeswoman tells me: “Due to health department regulations of food safety, sanitation and monitoring, we declined the offer from Chiquita to have 15 salad bars in our schools.”

So the health department is nixing healthy food for kids? That’s odd. Maybe the health department in Cincinnati has different regulations.

-- Taylor Batten


Ettolrahc said...

Hire a private company to operate the cafeterias in each school, imagine the jobs it would create in the communities.

Alannc44 said...


Why would private industry create more jobs than the school system? If anything, private industry would only hire the minimum needed.

Great editorial. No doubt soft drink companies have strong lobbies.

Cornelia said...

So, Allen, you think that the school system should hire more than is needed at the taxpayers' expense? Figures.

Skippy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skippy said...

Lets see, is this the same co that was fined for getting in bed with narco terrorists? Why of course it is. But the best part is that the hack Perdue is the gift that keeps on giving and now the liberals in the heath department have turned down healthy salad bars..

You can't make this garbage up.

Garth Vader said...

Why did you delete the comment pointing out that Chamber President Bob Morgan is a serial liar (he was the Chamber's primary pimp for the "Decade Of Progress" arena bundle swindle)? Afraid leaving such comments up might affect donations to your wife's private school, Taylor?