Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), the leading nonprofit certification organization improving the lives of farm animals in food production, announced today that all of Safeway’s brands of cage free and organic eggs have earned the Certified Humane designation. Safeway is the first major retailer in the U.S. to require all of their cage free and organic egg producers to become Certified Humane.
Safeway has been working with HFAC since June 2008 when Michael Talbott, one of the Safeway Supplier Quality Management team members, contacted HFAC. Talbott has broad-based knowledge in many areas including eggs and egg production. Talbott had already done research on the standards and various other animal welfare certification programs prior to contacting HFAC. However, before the Certified Humane program was actually chosen, Talbott did his due diligence and observed HFAC inspectors doing farm inspections and also traceability inspectors doing a plant inspection.
“The Certified Humane program is the most robust, verifiable certification program,” Talbott said.
Talbott worked with Heather Thornsley from the Safeway sourcing team. As a senior sourcing manager, Thornsley is responsible for identifying suppliers and ultimately recommending the most capable, competitive suppliers to Safeway senior management that can meet the requirements set down by the quality management team. It was the teamwork and collaboration of the sourcing and quality management teams that made this happen. These teams would not have been able to get this requirement in place if Safeway’s senior management did not wholeheartedly support this direction. When asked why this happened, Thornsley said, “We at Safeway believed it was just the right thing to do.”
“Safeway’s commitment has been unique and impressive. All of their suppliers had to make the changes necessary to become certified,” said Adele Douglass, HFAC’s founder and CEO. “As a result they have had a major impact on improving the lives of millions of laying hens in the US. Safeway’s leadership is unparalleled within the retail food industry. ”
HFAC is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals by certifying their humane treatment. Supported by more than 44 humane organizations, the Certified Humane Raised and Handled program is nationally recognized as the Gold Standard for certifying animal welfare from birth through slaughter. Since the program was unveiled in May 2003, more than 93 companies, representing thousands of farms and millions of farm animals, have been certified.
HFAC’s Animal Care Standards were developed by a veritable “Who’s Who” of national and international animal scientists and farm-animal welfare experts. Producer compliance with the HFAC standards is verified through annual on-site visits by HFAC’s third-party inspectors.