If you’ve been regular readers here, you know that Where Food Comes From has been on a journey to give our readers more access to the story behind their food. From actual stories about farms and ranches and the farmers that cultivate them to stories about the processes behind verification and the labels you see on your products every day, it is our continual mission to provide you details on the unseen parts of food verification and help to close the education and information gap between farm and table.
With that educational goal in mind, we wanted to take the time to fill you in on our recent announcement that Where Food Comes From is launching a set of standards around sustainability in poultry production called Poultry CARE. The main objective in developing Poultry CARE was to develop a set of standards that reflect state of the art best practice and science in sustainable poultry production for the protection of birds, workers and the environment. So let’s take some time this week to see what our new Poultry Care standards are all about.
It’s easy to say that we are always looking for ways to enhance and advance our verification processes and criteria. But how do we go about actually making that happen? Good question. Where Food Comes From constantly evaluates current processes and with the help of scientists, farmers and agriculture experts, we’re able to find better ways to produce food.
Farms, ranchers and even grocers depend on consumer trust to survive and grow. As consumers have become more conscious of verification standards, there has been an equally large push to expand those standards to allow for more transparency around the protection of animals, workers and our environment.
That’s where our new Poultry CARE standards come in. Today, there are four pillars we evaluate for Poultry Care: Animal Welfare, Worker Care, Environment, and Responsible Use of Antibiotics. This applicable to all stages of the poultry production.
Poultry production facilities can get certified on each pillar separately or have the option to complete all four simultaneously. Like our other certification programs, this involves extensive audits to ensure proper practices are in place. Here’s a quick overview on what each pillar covers.
Animal Welfare – Ensures birds are free from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pan, injury, disease, fear, etc. This goes beyond basic needs of the birds and also includes housing conditions and specific litter management.
Worker Care – Reinforce efforts to ensure individuals are legally hired, fairly compensated and treated, not subject to discrimination, appropriately trained and provided with a safe work environment.
Environment – Support the maintenance of a sustainable environment by promoting practices that encourage waste reduction, management of natural renewable resources, and reducing our carbon footprint.
Responsible Use of Antibiotics (RUA) – Prevent development of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria where antibiotics are administered. The Responsible Use of Antibiotics Standard is also informed by “judicious use principles”2 developed by the FDA in partnership with the American Veterinarian Medical Association, and the Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use (CRAU) Standard3 managed by the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC).
These standards are more than just checking on the birds daily. We considered these standards to be a positive and much needed addition to the poultry production industry. These pillars are key to good management in raising healthy birds.
Outside of the CARE guidelines, each of the pillars contain certification criteria around Community Engagement, which we consider a positive role of the production facilities. It’s important to be involved in the communities in which these facilities operate in. As we continue to improve these standards with our partners, we will continue to bring updates.
Stay tuned for more on Poultry Care and all things Where Food Comes From. Do you have an opinion? Great! From July 1-31, 2019, you can let us know your thoughts by visiting our Public Comment page on our website. We’d love to hear from you!