Outpost Natural Foods Pulls Controversial Palermo’s Pizza from Store Shelves, Adopts New “Vendor Code of Conduct”

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Outpost Natural Foods announced today on its website that it will no longer carry any Palermo’s Pizza product at all three of its Milwaukee locations, joining a growing list of grocers and other vendors that have discontinued sales of the controversial frozen pizza brand after continuous worker safety violations.

The Outpost statement reads, in part:

“Outpost has decided to discontinue all Palermo products in all of our stores. This series of events follows our formal adoption of a Local/Regional Vendor Code of Conduct policy.”

The Outpost decision comes after more than a year of steady pressure from members of the Palermo Workers Union and community allies, including regular handbilling about the controversy at Outpost stores, and repeated contact with the Outpost Board of Directors.

“We commend Outpost Natural Foods for finally making the right decision to stop selling Palermo’s Pizza products,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera. 

“Outpost has long-held policies that ensure their animal products are humanely raised and that Fair Trade practices govern the treatment of workers in the global south. So it’s only reasonable that Outpost has a means of holding their vendors accountable for any exploitation of workers rights or safety regulations here in Milwaukee.”

Outpost also publicized a new “Local/Regional Vendor Code of Conduct” that outlines four ethical standards meant to ensure that vendor employment practices complement the values of our cooperative whenever possible,” and states that “Repeat offenses may result in the discontinuation of the product line from the local vendor.”

Among Outpost’s new ethical standards for vendors is an expectation of compliance with all state and federal laws.   The “policy determination” regarding Palermo’s Pizza references recent OSHA citations levied against Palermo Villa Inc., on September 17, for safety violations that resulted in a serious amputation incident on May 3, 2013, and carried fines of $13,000.

Palermo’s also recently paid fines of nearly $106,000 in back pay for violations of federal labor law, and was forced to rehire employees they illegally fired, as well as post a notice in the factory admitting to numerous violations of federal labor laws.

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