Mountaire Farms in Millsboro is the first U.S poultry production company approved by a new comprehensive animal care program verified by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA).
One Health Certified is a voluntary animal production program.
“It is a new consumer choice label that prioritizes animal health and welfare while addressing important concerns about how food animals are raised,” said Dr. Don Ritter, director of technical marketing at Mountaire Farms and a veterinarian.“It’s a simple multi-protein label that tells consumers the sustainable responsible animal care practices are followed and verified.”
He says to earn approval the program audits a company’s facilities to examine its policies and procedures related to disease prevention, veterinary care, responsible antibiotic use, animal welfare and environmental impacts.
“One Health Certified seeks to avoid the negative tradeoffs and unintended consequences of other more narrowly focused programs such as “No Antibiotics Ever,” said Ritter.
Mountaire’s audit was completed late last year.
Ritter notes that customers have asked for this type of label to address concerns about how companies deal with these issues.
“For the general public it’s a retail label certification program that assures consumers that responsible animal care practices were followed; that the meat came from animals that were raised under a responsible animal care program that has transparent guidelines for farmers to follow," said Ritter.
Ritter says the new label will begin appearing on poultry products in the next few months.