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Un-Fair to break contract

April 30th, 2009

John Carroll University is a strong supporter of Fair Trade products, including Fair Trade coffee. The University’s catering service, Aramark, is under contract to serve only Fair Trade coffee at any event that they cater. However, over the past few months it has been found out that Aramark has been using Folgers coffee.

Boxes of Folgers coffee were discovered during an inventory count, and multiple cases of previously inventoried-Folgers were no longer there according to JCU junior Alex Phillips, a Fair Trade intern. Aramark has already apologized for the mix-up.

Catering customers are able to order non-Fair Trade coffee, but only by special request. This option, however, is not explicitly presented to customers. When checking off “coffee” on a catering form it does not indicate what type or brand of coffee would be used.

By serving Folgers, or any other non-Fair Trade brand of coffee, Aramark is violating the contract they signed with the University. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a contract is defined as “a binding agreement between two or more persons or parties.” Thus, by using non-Fair Trade coffee Aramark had reneged on their contract.

Anytime a person or group enters into a contract, especially one that affects as many people as a university catering company does, they should hold up their end of the agreements. In the future Aramark should be more careful to adhere to the details of agreements that they sign.