Blog: Dean BestCelebrity chef calls Sainsbury's chicken

Dean Best | 7 January 2008

Love him or hate him, Jamie Oliver has been bold in slamming one of his employers, UK retailer Sainsbury’s, for not turning up to a TV debate he organised on factory farming.

Oliver is one of three celebrity chefs (alongside Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Gordon Ramsay) who will this month front “a groundbreaking season of programmes that will change the way you think about food” – according to the UK’s Channel 4.

This week, Oliver will turn the spotlight on factory farming and the welfare of battery-farmed chickens in the UK. And the chef, who has been paid millions to front Sainsbury’s ad campaigns in the country, has ran into some controversy for admonishing the retailer for not turning up to a TV debate to defend its practices.

"It is shocking that the people I work for didn't turn up on the day,” Oliver was quoted as saying by UK newspaper The Daily Mirror.

“I don't know why. The fact that your PR department hasn't even got the confidence to turn up and talk about what you do for the millions of people who come through your doors each week. Of course the supermarkets should have turned up. How dare they not? I was really upset.”

Many in the UK love to criticize Oliver – largely for his almost ubiquitous presence on TV thanks to those Sainsbury’s ads – but his public rebuke of the retailer will resonate with the growing number of consumers who are striving to shop more ethically.


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