Spain's Eroski has added animal welfare certificates to its range of private label turkey, rabbit, and chicken SKUs.
The 'Welfair' certification promotes animal welfare by evaluating producers according to strict standards when it comes to feeding, housing and health. Certification involves periodic inspection and supervision of farms and slaughterhouses, while examination officials trained in European animal welfare protocols conduct out annual audits.
The training and monitoring is carried out by the IRTA (Institute for Agrifood Research and Technology ) and the Neiker technology centre.
Director of health and sustainability of Eroski, Alejandro Martínez Berriochoa, said, "Animal welfare is a relevant work axis in the specifications that we require from our suppliers for products of animal origin, especially for those of our own brands.
"At Eroski we strive to offer consumers alternatives that allow them to practice a balanced and responsible diet, and with the new additions, we offer consumers a wide variety of food [items] with this seal."
Animal Welfare Initiatives
In addition to action on white meat, Eroski recently made a public commitment to phase out the use of caged chicken eggs as an ingredient in products from its own-brand range by the year 2025. The new pledge is in addition to its previous commitment to switch to fresh eggs from free-range hens, which are not raised in cages or combined systems, by 2024.
Currently, 57% of the eggs the retailer sells come from free-range or organic hens, and have reached 100% in a region such as Catalonia.
At the beginning of 2021, Eroski added the animal welfare seal to its local milk from the Basque Country, Navarra, Galicia, and the Balearic Islands.
In 2020, the first products to incorporate this certification were the chicken, pork, and lamb from the Aragon Natur range.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Conor Farrelly. For more Fresh Produce news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.