Gordon Food Service believes in the humane treatment of animals. As a responsible foodservice distributor, we require that our suppliers comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the countries, states, and localities in which they operate. We expect our suppliers to use humane procedures and sound animal husbandry practices to prevent the mistreatment of animals. We expect our suppliers to adhere to published industry standards and regulatory requirements within their respective processing or manufacturing areas. We encourage our suppliers to maintain environments that are consistent with the universally recognized five freedoms of animal welfare as developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee of the UK.
Gordon Food Service requires the following from our live animal processing suppliers:
- Documented animal welfare policies and procedures, in conformance with applicable laws and regulations, based on industry standard guidelines regarding the humane raising, handling, transportation and processing of animals.
- Regular internal audit and documentation of conformance to their animal welfare policies.
- Completion of annual third-party audits, administered by Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization ("PAACO") or equivalent certification auditors, for facilities where live animals are processed. Audits must validate adherence to sound, science-based industry standards with regard to humane live animal handling from the farm through processing.
- Swift corrective action plans for any non-conforming practice(s) identified.
In addition to these requirements, Gordon Food Service expects our suppliers to continuously improve their processes to benefit the well-being of animals, which could include but are not limited to:
- Promote elimination of tail docking.
- Promote elimination of dehorning and complete disbudding as early as practically possible, while horn development is still at the horn bud stage (typically 2-3 months from birth), with required pain relief under the guidance of a Veterinarian under a Valid Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR).
- Elimination of veal crates and conversion of facilities to group housing without tethering.
- Elimination of gestation crates and conversion of facilities to group housing.
- Encourage pain relief under the guidance of a Veterinarian under a Valid Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) during tail docking and castration of piglets.
- Continuous review of handling practices that ensure good health and welfare of broilers and parent stock from hatchery, farm grow out, catch/transportation, and processing.
- Exploration of emerging technologies like Controlled Atmosphere Killing systems (CAK) or Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS) with the exception of religious requirements for Halal and Kosher.
- Work with suppliers toward a 100% cage-free egg offering by 2026 based on available supply, affordability, and customer demand.
We expect all our suppliers to ensure humane handling during transportation and minimize animal transport times in line with local animal transportation regulations, industry best practices and expert animal welfare guidance. This applies to all species of animals.
We recognize that best practices for animal husbandry continue to evolve. We monitor and review science-based research on animal welfare practices, tour farms and processing facilities and engage in dialogue with our suppliers about procedures, standards and best practices throughout the supply chain. We will continue to work with our supplier community to evaluate emerging topics and will update our animal well-being commitments accordingly.