We strive to promote best practices in animal welfare, aiming, whenever possible, to be above the benchmark. For example, antibiotics are used only for therapeutic purposes, stunning prior to slaughter is compulsory (with the exception of certified religious rituals) and growth hormones are banned.
To this end, we regularly carry out laboratory tests, as well as quality and food safety audits of the slaughterhouses used by the Group in Portugal, Poland and Colombia.
We do not allow animal testing during the development of our Private Brand products and Perishables in any of the countries in which we operate. The only exception is when it comes to animal feed (which involves sensory tests to assess the level of satisfaction of the target audience) and products to control or eliminate parasitic and/or superpopulations species that may be sources of contamination or disease, such as, for example, insects.
Biotechnology and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
Our GMO Policy is built on the principle that our Private Brand products, including Perishables, do not contain any transgenic additives, whether plant- or animal-based.
We are thus committed to:
- understanding the production processes used by our suppliers and assessing the quality and safety standards implemented;
- regularly carrying out laboratory analyses, using independent and accredited entities;
- ensuring that suppliers can identify and trace GMOs in the cases where it is not at all possible to replace them;
- should any GMOs be present, guaranteeing the consumer’s right to transparent, accurate information about the presence of these organisms on the product labelling, such disclosure being carried out in strict compliance with the limit applied by the Group of a maximum of 0.1% (stricter than the 0.9% set under EU law).
Biedronka’s Private Brand free-range chickens, sold since 2015, are raised without the use of antibiotics and given non-GMO feed. Besides having ten times more space to grow than conventional chickens, below the average density of 30 kg/m2, they have a minimum slaughter age of 70 days (higher than the market average established at 56 days).
In Portugal, the Pingo Doce free-range chickens are raised outdoors, with a maximum density of 25 kg/m2. With a minimum slaughter age of 81 days, this product is certified by an independent external entity and the respective specifications were approved by the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Private Brand Duroc serrano ham has animal welfare approved certification of its production and slaughter processes from an independent external entity, while “Porco.pt” certified pork is of national production that follows practices such as a lower animal density than that required by law, and cereal-based feed.
We prohibit transport for over eight hours and the use of tranquilisers on Aberdeen Angus cattle. We also include criteria such as the absence of wounds and signs of thirst or hunger in cow calves.
Cage-free Chicken Eggs
We are committed to eradicating the sale of Private Brand fresh eggs from caged hens, by 2025.
At Pingo Doce, we achieved this goal in August 2019, with the Private Brand offering only eggs from organic production, free-range chickens or those raised in a barn, that is, “cage-free”. Biedronka sells barn, free-range and organic eggs, while Recheio sells barn eggs under the Amanhecer Private Brand. In January 2020, barn eggs under the MasterChef brand were also introduced.
In 2019, Biedronka extended its commitment to selling cage-free fresh eggs to Supplier Brands.
Practices at Jerónimo Martins Agro-Alimentar
Created in 2014 to support our Food Distribution operation in Portugal, Jerónimo Martins Agro-Alimentar aims at ensuring direct supply of some strategic products. Today, it operates in three business areas: dairy products (Terra Alegre), Angus beef production and fattening (Best Farmer) and aquaculture (Seaculture).
In 2019, all Aberdeen Angus beef production units and the dairy farm obtained an independent external entity certification for the Responsible Reduction of Drug Use, receiving a score of “100% Excellent”. This certification ensures that antibiotics are only used for therapeutic purposes. These production units also have animal welfare approved certification, from an independent external identity, in accordance with the European “Welfare Quality” protocol.
ABERDEEN ANGUS BEEF
- a minimum of 6.5 m2 per animal (3 m2 more than the recommended area);
- daily replacement of fresh straw for bedding;
- animals grouped by gender and weight to reduce competition and the consequent stress;
- compliance with the recommendations of Grandin Livestock Handling Systems’ Standard Welfare Scheme;
- flooring made of grooved concrete or rubber to prevent animals from slipping.
- one bed per cow and 0.6 m of feeding space;
- facilities with an automatic cooling system that activates fans and sprinklers to cool the animals. The fans also ventilate the stalls, reducing the amount of ammonia in the air and drying the animals’ bedding. They also help reduce straw consumption by around 30% and the production of manure;
- automatic massage brushes for all the animals;
- music to help reduce stress;
- collars to monitor animal activity that naturally identify when they are in heat, thus avoiding the use of reproductive hormones, and detect changes in behaviour, which helps in the early diagnosis of pathologies and to reduce the use of drugs.
We also ensure:
- training in animal welfare for all employees in contact with the animals;
- vaccination and de-worming of all the animals;
- leading and handling the animals by using techniques that reduce stress. The use of electric shock sticks or any system that might hurt the animals is forbidden;
- feed based on silage and fodder (corn silage produced by local producers or in our production units), favouring the cows’ rumen health, and increasing their comfort and well-being;
- use of non-graded vegetables (e.g., sweet potatoes) and sub-products from other food industries (e.g., pressed tomatoes and brewer’s grain) in feed;
- food complemented by feed adapted to each stage of growth, accounting for around 30% of dietary requirements;
- freedom of movement for all the animals, free from chains, and tail docking is not allowed.
AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION OF SEA BASS AND SEA BREAM
- vaccination of all fish;
- open sea production, allowing fish to grow in their natural habitat;
- low production density, not exceeding 15 kg/m3;
- high oxygen concentration levels in the water (> 6.5 mg/l);
- no mutilation is permitted (e.g., cutting fins), which means that 100% of our animals are free from such practices;
- use of “Dyneema” nets, which are more flexible, thus causing less friction, and reduce pain during the fishing process.