Ethical Eating

Should Publix Use Styrofoam?

Publix, the largest private company in Florida and the 15th largest retailer in the U.S., is again the focus of criticism from do-gooders.

During the last year, Publix has been called out for failing to heed labor demands to raise the price of tomatoes a penny per pound, which

translates to thousands more in wages for Immokalee workers. (After reading about Florida slavery cases, it's disturbing Publix resists, considering even McDonald's and Taco Bell have signed on.)

In a decidedly milder criticism of Publix, a member from is targeting the company for its use of styrofoam, urging Publix to switch to recyclable

and sustainable packaging for all of its produce. Clean Plate Charlie contacted Maria Brous, director of media relations for Publix, who did not return a phone call. Other grocery chains such as Safeway also use styrofoam.

The company claims on its website that it embraces sustainable practices, including financial support of fish conservation group Ocean Trust (though the store does not yet label sustainable seafood and sells products

that Monterey Bay Aquarium lists as at-risk).

Criticism of Publix stretches back years. New Times featured a story on five people who died on the job at the Deerfield Publix in 2000. And in 1997, the company settled a class action suit in

regard to gender discrimination, paying 100,000 female employees over $81 million in damages and changing its workplace policy.

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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart