Tyson Foods announced Wednesday (March 6) a new poultry handling and transportation certification by a third party — U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. Tyson is the first major food company to implement this protocol as its ongoing commitment to animal welfare.
“Ensuring the safety and welfare of our people and animals is paramount at Tyson Foods,” said Karen Christensen, senior director of animal welfare for Tyson Foods. “By working with U.S.Poultry & Egg to achieve certification across our organization, we are doubling down on our commitment to continuous improvement in animal welfare. We’re proud of this certification and continue to evolve best practices in every aspect of animal welfare.”
The new Poultry Handling and Transportation certification program was developed by Penn State University scientists, the USDA and industry specialists, and is managed by U.S. Poultry & Egg. More than 1,000 Tyson Foods poultry and transportation workers have received individual PHT certification over the past year, the company noted in the release.
Tyson Foods said the PHT certification is in addition to the animal welfare training the company already requires for frontline workers involved in handling and transporting live birds. PHT focuses on important areas such as biosecurity, disease recognition, emergency planning and the safe and humane handling of birds before, during and after transport.
“Tyson Foods’ commitment to this certification process demonstrates a pivotal moment in the industry, and we’re excited about the progress we’ve made together,” said Rafael Rivera, Manager, Food Safety & Production Programs, U.S. Poultry & Egg. “Every training gives us a new opportunity to improve our practices and we look forward to continuing to drive progress in animal well-being.”
Tyson Foods said some of its other animal welfare efforts include:
• The Tyson FarmCheck program, which involves third-party, on-farm animal welfare audits;
• An Animal Welfare Advisory panel made up of external subject matter experts;
• Extensive third-party remote video auditing system, monitoring bird handling in 33 poultry plants;
• Almost 60 full-time animal welfare specialists across the company’s beef, pork and poultry operations; and
• A pilot project for testing Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS) at two Tyson poultry plants.