Safeway Exceeds Cage-Free Eggs Goal
Safeway Inc. is the first major grocery retailer in the U.S. to require all of its cage-free eggs to become Certified Humane. In 2008, Safeway started an initiative with its suppliers to source all Lucerne Cage-Free and O Organics shell eggs from farms that are Certified Humane. The Certified Humane label is administered by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC).
Two years later, the grocery retailer announced a new goal of increasing cage-free egg sales from six to 12 percent within two years. Currently, over 15 percent of overall eggs sales are cage-free. This year, Safeway added the Open Nature line to the Certified Humane program. Safeway is a Fortune 100 company that operates 1,644 stores in the U.S. and western Canada and had annual sales of $43.6 billion in 2011.
The Certified Humane label is described by HFAC as a "certification and labeling program that is the only animal welfare label requiring the humane treatment of farm animals from birth through slaughter." In order to qualify for the Certified Humane label, an egg farm has to meet certain standards:
- Cages are not allowed, and housing facilities must include areas for hens to nest, dust bath, scratch and perch
- The animals must have enough space, shelter and gentle handling to limit stress
- The animals must have access to ample fresh water and a healthy diet of quality feed with no animal by-products
"Safeway's commitment has been unique and impressive," said Adele Douglass, Founder and CEO of HFAC. Douglass pointed out that in order for Safeway to become certified, its suppliers had to make "necessary changes." Safeway's certification has had a "major impact on improving the humane treatment of laying hens in the U.S." Douglass added, "Safeway's leadership is unparalleled within the retail food industry."
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