Dean Foods corporate responsibility programs and policies are managed through an organizational structure designed to ensure accountability and elicit stakeholder input. The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors provides oversight of our policy-setting activities. Additionally, our cross-functional Issues Working Group identifies, prioritizes and manages issues and trends related to our corporate reputation and the interests of our stakeholders. This group helps ensure that the viewpoints of various constituencies are appropriately considered, and that our corporate positions are communicated and applied consistently across the company.
Equal Opportunity Policy
Our policy is to provide recruitment, hiring, training, compensation, transfer, promotion, termination and all other conditions of employment for all persons based on merit, qualifications and competency without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status, veteran status or any status protected by law and not listed here. Fulfillment of our commitment to equal employment opportunity requires action by all employees throughout Dean Foods.
Policy Against Harassment
Our policy is to provide a work environment that is pleasant, professional and free from intimidation, hostility or other offenses which might interfere with work performance. We will not tolerate harassment of any sort – verbal, physical or visual – particularly against employees in protected classes. These classes include, but are not necessarily limited to, race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status, veteran status, or any other status protected by law and not listed here.
Policy Against Retaliation
We will not tolerate any retaliation or threat of retaliation against any person for reporting in good faith a known or suspected violation of the Code of Ethics or any other applicable policy. Any employee who commits an act of retaliation is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
California Transparency in Supply Chains Act
Read our statement on our compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (SB 657).
Political Contributions Policy
Dean Foods believes that it has a responsibility to be engaged in the political process to both protect and promote its interests. We also encourage our employees to be active in civic and community activities, including participation in the political and democratic process. All political, lobbying and civic activity by the Company and its employees must comply with applicable law and the Company’s Code of Ethics. View the full policy, the 2014 disclosures and the 2015 disclosures.
Position on Animal Welfare
As the leading dairy company in the United States, Dean Foods takes its role as a steward in the dairy industry seriously. We believe that providing for the good welfare of dairy cows is not only the right thing to do, but that the health and welfare of dairy cows is directly related to the production of high-quality milk and our products. Learn more about our work to improve Animal Welfare.
Position on Use of Artificial Growth Hormones
Over the past few years, many of our consumers and retail customers have requested that we provide products made from milk produced by dairy cows that are not treated with the artificial growth hormone rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin). The FDA has approved the commercial use of rbST in the U.S. and determined that no significant difference can be shown in milk from cows treated with rbST and those not so treated. However, to meet the growing requests of consumers and retailers, in 2008 we began to request that our dairy suppliers provide us with raw milk from cows not treated with rbST. Since July 1, 2008, virtually all Dean Foods fluid milk has been sourced from cows not treated with rbST.
Position on Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Labeling
At Dean Foods, we are committed to ensuring that our products adhere to the highest standards of food safety and quality. We only use food ingredients that have been recognized as safe by leading regulatory authorities.
We firmly believe genetically modified ingredients are safe. Food developed through biotechnology has been studied extensively and judged safe by a broad range of regulatory agencies, scientists, health professionals, and other experts around the world.
We supported the establishment of a national disclosure standard for bioengineered food and intend to fully comply with the future labeling guidelines established by the standard. We believe a national uniform labeling requirement best meets consumer needs while avoiding a patchwork of costly state-by-state regulations.
As a company that depends on dairy farm businesses, we recognize many farmers are challenged by today’s economic conditions. We are concerned about the future and economic well-being of the entire U.S. dairy industry. We are taking a leading role in efforts to modernize an antiquated U.S. dairy policy that was not designed to deal with the complexity of today’s global markets.
Dean Foods believes that the current government-controlled system of dairy pricing creates a high degree of volatility in milk prices that hurts producers and processors alike. We believe the dairy industry needs significant and meaningful pricing reform. We fundamentally disagree with reforms that would establish a “market stabilization” or “supply management” program for dairy farmers. Supply management approaches limit milk production and hurt the U.S. dairy sector by suppressing industry growth and penalizing the most efficient farmers. Such a system would result in an added regulatory burden. Additionally, it would unfairly impact certain regions already lacking enough milk to meet processing demands. We believe a supply-managed system is the wrong answer for the American farm community because the U.S. is very competitive globally in dairy. We also believe it's the wrong answer for consumers because it ultimately leads to higher prices.
We are working with farmers, regulators, elected leaders, and retailers to create a new, sustainable dairy policy that not only ensures high-quality, nutritious, and affordable milk for consumers, but also promotes growth for American dairy farmers and processors.