CHICAGO — The Kraft Heinz Co. is expanding its animal welfare commitments to include higher standards for treatment of broiler chickens in its U.S. supply chain.
|Michael Mullen, senior vice-president of corporate and government affairs at Kraft Heinz|
“When we issued our global animal welfare policy earlier this year, we underscored our commitment to the humane treatment of animals and said we would prioritize continuous animal welfare improvements throughout our supply chain,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice-president of corporate and government affairs at Kraft Heinz. “Today, we’re delivering on that promise by joining the food industry in an effort to advance the well-being of broiler chickens in our supply.”
The company will work with its suppliers and the industry to achieve the following goals by 2024:
- Source 100% of chicken via breeds approved by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or Global Animal Partnership (GAP) for improved welfare and quality of life
- Provide birds with more space to perform natural behaviors, including a stocking density no greater than 6 lbs per square foot
- Provide chickens with better environments, including litter, lighting and other enhancements aligned with GAP’s environmental standards
- Implement a multi-step, controlled-atmosphere processing system
- Demonstrate compliance via supplier verification or third-party auditing
- Communicate animal welfare progress as part of regular sustainability reporting
“Extensive changes such as these require significant investment of time and resources, industry-wide,” Mr. Mullen said. “We recognize the complexity of this undertaking and look forward to collaborating with our suppliers, the food industry and other stakeholders to advance these ambitious goals in a way that is sustainable for our collective businesses.”
Kraft Heinz’ animal welfare commitment follows similar announcements from other C.P.G. companies this month. On Oct. 16, Nestle USA pledged to source all the broiler chickens used as ingredients in its U.S. food portfolio from sources meeting a higher standard of animal welfare by 2024. On Oct. 2, The Campbell Soup Co. also committed to improve the welfare of broiler chickens in its chicken meat supply chain by 2024.
Kraft Heinz announced its initial animal welfare policy in March as part of its vision to “grow a better world.”
“Kraft Heinz is committed to the humane treatment of animals and prioritizes continuous improvement in animal welfare,” Kraft Heinz’s animal welfare policy states. “The company’s new policy is guided by the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, a set of core principles for animals under human care. This includes freedom from: hunger and thirst; discomfort due to the environment; pain, injury and disease; fear and distress; along with the freedom to express most normal behaviors. In support of these Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, Kraft Heinz also requires its suppliers to have a zero tolerance policy for willful acts of animal abuse and neglect.“The policy also reinforces and introduces several supplier guidelines for humane sourcing, including commitments to use eggs only from hens living in cage-free and/or enriched environments and the transition away from traditional gestation stall housing for pregnant sows by 2025.”