International food conglomerate Kraft Heinz has announced it is to expand its animal welfare commitments to include higher standards of well-being for broilers in its US supply chain.
Kraft Heinz will work with its suppliers and the industry at large to achieve the following aims by 2024:
• Source 100% of its chicken via breeds approved either by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) or Global Animal Partnership (GAP) for measurably improved welfare and quality of life;
• Provide birds with more space to perform natural behaviours, including a stocking density no greater than 6 pounds per square foot;
• Provide birds with better environments, including litter, lighting and other enrichments that align with GAP’s environmental standards;
• Implement a multi-step, controlled-atmosphere processing system;
• Demonstrate compliance via supplier verification or third-party auditing, and communicate progress as part of regular sustainability reporting.
Michael Mullen, Kraft Heinz senior vice-president of corporate and government affairs, said the announcement followed its commitment earlier this year to the humane treatment of animals and the prioritisation of continuous animal welfare improvements throughout its supply chain.
“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.
“Extensive changes such as these require significant investment of time and resource industry-wide. We recognise 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 to our collective businesses.”
Josh Balk, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States, said Kraft Heinz was addressing the most pressing concerns relating to poultry production by requiring a shift in how chickens are bred, housed and processed by its suppliers.
“Kraft Heinz shows yet again that improving animal welfare is a core part of being a successful food company. We applaud the company for its continued progress.”