As a food specialist, we seek to promote the best animal welfare practices, complying with the requirements of the European Directive, as well as with the remaining legislation in force.
Examples of such practices include the ban on the use of growth hormones, use of antibiotics only for therapeutic purposes and mandatory stunning, with the exception of certified religious rituals (less than 5%), prior to the time of slaughter in all our operations.
In order to ensure this compliance, we carry out regular laboratory tests, as well as quality and food safety audits in the slaughterhouses used by the Group, in Portugal, Poland and Colombia. In Colombia, laboratory tests regarding the use of growth hormones and antibiotics are controlled by our suppliers. Whenever possible, we promote practices above the benchmark.
We do not allow animal tests to be carried out in the process of developing our products, whether they are Private Label or Perishables, thus complying with the European Directive 2010/63/EU in all countries where we are present.
The exception is animal feed products for which sensory tests are carried out to assess the degree of satisfaction of the target population for which they are intended and also for products whose purpose is to control or eliminate parasitic and/or overpopular species which may be sources of contamination or disease, such as insects.
Biotechnology and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Our Genetically Modified Organisms Policy is based on the principle that our Private Brand products, including Perishables, do not contain transgenic ingredients or additives, whether of plant or animal origin. To this end, our companies are committed to:
- collaborating with its suppliers to understand the production processes used and evaluate the safety and quality standards implemented;
- performing regular laboratory tests using independent and accredited entities;
- ensuring the identification and traceability of GMOs to their suppliers in cases where it is not entirely possible to replace them;
- if GMOs are present, ensuring the consumers´ right to transparent and accurate information on the presence of these organisms through the labelling of products, and their disclosure is carried out strictly in compliance with the limit applied by the Group of 0,1% maximum (limit of quantification of the method).
At Biedronka, our Private Brand field hens, whose sales reached 1,680 tonnes, 4% more than in 2017, are created without the use of antibiotics or feed containing genetically modified organisms. This project was started in 2015 with Polish suppliers and, until 2017, was unique in Poland.
In Portugal, the Pingo Doce field chicken is grown outdoors and fed mostly with cereals. With a minimum slaughter age of 81 days, it belongs to slow growing strains. This product is certified by SGS, an independent external body, and its specifications were approved by the Directorate General of Agriculture and Rural Development.
At Pingo Doce we have maintained the commercialization of pork with the “Porco.pt” certification, of national production, and whose practices promote animal welfare. In 2018, more than 700 tonnes were marketed, and Pingo Doce was awarded the “Partner of Merit” award for representing more than 50% of sales of this product.
In addition, we have undertaken the commitment to eradicate, by 2025, the sale of fresh eggs from caged hens in the Companies’ Private Brands. To this end, Biedronka has been selling, in its Private Brand, barn eggs, free-range and organic eggs, while Recheio has been selling Private Brand barn eggs and Pingo Doce 100% national organic eggs under the Go Bio brand. Ara also has in its offer Private Brand cage-free eggs. In 2018, more than 20% of the Group’s Private Brand fresh eggs sold by its banners were cage-free.
Our goal is to work alongside our Private Brand suppliers allowing them time to adapt their operations and progressively increase this proportion until 2025. We are currently identifying suppliers who will be able to achieve this goal earlier in Poland. In Portugal, in our Pingo Doce banner, all Private Brand fresh eggs are from cage-free hens since August 2019.
In the scope of our activities in the Angus Beef production area, by Jerónimo Martins Agro-Alimentar, we highlight the following actions:
- provision of an area per animal greater than the recommended 3 m2, guaranteeing a minimum of 4 m2/animal;
- daily replenishment of fresh straw in the beds;
- animals grouped by sex and weight in order to reduce their competition and consequent stress resulting therefrom;
- compliance with the recommendations of the Standard Welfare Scheme of Grandin Livestock Handling Systems;
- the floors used are torn cement or rubber to prevent the animals from slipping.
- all fish are vaccinated;
- production in the open sea and not in tanks, allowing the fish to develop in their natural habitat;
- handling is minimized to capture to avoid stress in the animal. As an example, we use combi nets that limit the necessary exchange of networks and thus reduce the stress generated in the animals throughout their life cycle;
- mutilation (eg cutting of fins) is not allowed;
- we use “Dyneema” nets which, because they are more flexible, cause less friction, and therefore reduce pain in the fishing process.
- at least one bed per cow and 0.6 m of feeder space is available;
- the facilities have an automatic cooling system that drives fans and showers to cool the animals. The fans also have the advantage of ventilating the parks, reducing the amount of ammonia in the air and contributing to the drying and consequent comfort of the animals’ beds. Since the fans were installed, the straw consumption was reduced by about 30%, resulting in the production of a smaller volume of manure;
- there are automatic massage brushes for the use of all animals;
- there is ambient music to contribute to the reduction of animal stress;
- all animals have an activity monitoring collar that, by behavioral analysis, naturally identifies oestrus, avoiding the use of reproductive hormones. It also detects changes in behavior, leading to the early diagnosis of pathologies, thus contributing to animal welfare and reducing drug use;
- all animals have freedom of movement being free from tethering and tail docking.
In addition, in our Aberdeen Angus beef cattle breeding and production operations, we ensure:
- training in animal welfare for all employees in contact with the animals that live in our facilities;
- vaccination and deworming of all animals;
- handling and animal husbandry are done using techniques that reduce stress and are not allowed to use electric shocks, sticks or any system that could harm the animals;
- a feed based on silage and fodder, favouring the ruminal health of cattle, and increasing their comfort and well-being. The animals are fed corn silage produced by local producers or in our production units. Uncalibrated vegetables (eg sweet potatoes) and by-products from other food industries (eg tomato peel and beer bagasse) are also used. The feed is supplemented with ration appropriate to the growth phase of the animal.