Showing respect for animals ensures the best quality of the products we sell.
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Animal welfare

We follow the best animal welfare practices to fulfil our mission to bring the best food to our customers’ tables and encourage our perishables and private brand suppliers to implement principles and practices aligned with the five freedoms of animal welfare: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom to express normal behaviour; and freedom from fear and distress.

The criteria we have established apply to all Group companies. We have banned the use of growth hormones and only allow antibiotics to be used for therapeutic purposes, never preventively or to promote growth. The stunning of all animals prior to slaughter is also compulsory, with the exception of certified religious rituals (less than 5% of total sales).

We regularly carry out laboratory tests, as well as quality and food safety audits of our suppliers and the slaughterhouses used by the Group in Portugal, Poland and Colombia to ensure compliance with our principles.

Animal testing

We do not allow animal testing in the development of our products in any of the countries where we are present.

Biotechnology and GMO

Our Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Policy prohibits the use of transgenic additives or ingredients or GMOs, whether plant or animal based, in our Private Brand and perishable products. We work with suppliers to understand their production processes and to assess safety and quality standards. We also carry out regular laboratory analyses, using independent and accredited entities.

Our Companies ensure that suppliers can identify and trace GMO in the cases where it is not at all possible to replace them. The Companies also ensure the consumer’s right to information about the presence of GMO on product labelling.


Biedronka, Pingo Doce and Recheio sell nationally-raised Private Brand free-range chicken.

In 2022 we also launched the Best Farmer’s free-range chicken, sold in Pingo Doce and Recheio stores, raised mostly outdoors and with an area per animal 30% larger than that provided in the production of free-range chicken. Production is antibiotic-free and certified animal welfare approved according to the Welfair™ seal (based on the international benchmark Welfare Quality).

At Pingo Doce, Private Brand Angus beef maintained in 2023 its double antibiotic-free production and animal welfare certification (obtained according to the international benchmark Welfare Quality and bearing the Welfair™ seal).

Cage-free chicken eggs

We have pledged to ensure that, by 2025, all Private Brand fresh eggs will be from barn-raised, free-range or organic chickens. These three systems follow a set of animal welfare criteria and require, for instance, a larger area available per hen, straw bales for the animals to peck at, and greater freedom of movement, among other conditions.

By the end of 2023, 98% of Private Brand fresh eggs were from cage-free hens, mainly as a result of eliminating the sale of fresh eggs from caged hens at Pingo Doce and Biedronka in 2019 and 2022, respectively.

Whenever possible, we use cage-free eggs as an ingredient in our Private Brand products. In Biedronka, cage-free eggs are used in 100% of the Private Brand assortment that contains egg as an ingredient since 2022. Pingo Doce and Recheio ended 2023 using cage-free eggs in 61% and 39% of their Private Brand products that contain egg, respectively.

Practices at Jerónimo Martins Agro-Alimentar

Jerónimo Martins Agro-Alimentar is certified in the responsible use of antibiotics in its meat production and dairy farm operations. This certification guarantees that antibiotics are used for therapeutic purposes only.

These operations are also Animal Welfair™ certified, in accordance with the European Welfare Quality standard. Sheep production is also Animal Welfair™ certified, based on the AWIN® standard.

More than 90% of the farmers that supply the Terra Alegre dairy factory are certified in animal welfare according to the Welfair Quality protocol, allowing disclosure on Pingo Doce fresh milk of the Welfair® seal, certified by AENOR. The protocol is built on four basic principles: feed, ambient conditions, health, and proper animal behaviour.

These are some of the measures that allowed us to achieve these results:


Cattle are reared in an area of 6.5 m2 or more per animal, with grooved concrete or rubber flooring to prevent the animals from slipping and getting hurt. We also replace straw used for bedding every day to ensure their comfort and well-being.


At least one bed per cow and 60 cm of feeding space is provided. All animals have access to automatic massage brushes and ambient music is played to reduce stress, as well as pasture areas. Animals have collars to monitor activity that enable early detection of pathologies through behavioural changes, thus contributing towards a reduction in the use of drugs.

We ensure the following in our dairy and Angus beef operations:

  • mandatory training in animal welfare for all employees in contact with the animals;
  • vaccination and de-worming of all animals;
  • no electronic shocks, sticks or any system that may hurt the animals are used when moving or handling them;
  • an automatic cooling system with fans;
  • no animals are subject to mutilation (e.g. tail docking and dehorning) and they all have freedom of movement.

We ensure a minimum area of 0.6 m2 per animal (above the good practice recommendation of 0.5 m2), and feed based on forage (source of fiber) and concentrate. None of the animals are castrated and they all have freedom of movement.


We ensure the vaccination of 100% of the fish we raise in the open sea with constant currents, which guarantees good circulation and water quality. We also ensure that none of the fish are subject to mutilation practices (e.g. cutting of fins), and we use ice-cold water for rapid cooling of body temperature to desensitize the animals. In 2023, JMA reinforced its equity interest in a company that has developed an innovative system for sustainable salmon production in Norway.

Jerónimo Martins Agro-Alimentar

Learn more about this business area, created in 2014 to support food distribution operations.