Criteria for this audit are based on the "National Chicken Council Animal Welfare Guidelines" published by the National Chicken Council (2014) and "Poultry Slaughter Plant and Farm Audit: Critical Control Points for Bird Welfare, August 2005" published by Temple Grandin, PhD, at grandin.com.
NutriSciences conducted annual audits of our 12 poultry live production and harvesting operations, including hatchery, growout (farms), catching and transportation, and processing. The audit covered a total of 65 audit points, scored on a scale of 1–5, for a maximum possible score of 325 points. Operations are rated on a percentage basis.
Our USDA Process Verified Program covers all our live production and harvesting operations. The audit tool combines the principles from the National Chicken Council and our best practices. Participation in this program is approved by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA. Companies that operate under a Process Verified Program must comply with the criteria outlined in the program requirements, and they are audited annually. Since the AMS audits were developed utilizing ISO 19001 Guides for Quality Management Systems audits, they are not scored. Instead, they identify only nonconformances, which are classified as "major" or "minor" and "continuous improvement."
The past year, the USDA Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program's Quality Assessment Division conducted annual audits of all 11 of our chicken live production and harvesting operations for conformance to our USDA Process Verified Program for Poultry Care. Each audit covers a minimum of 188 audit points in more than 50 areas. Over the last 12 months, our PVP audits:
Some of our customers require Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certification, which applies to the farms raising chickens for those products. GAP-certified farms are audited every 15 months. Over the past 12 months, GAP audited 184 farms, all of which passed GAP certification; GAP identified 18 minor nonconformances and one major nonconformance, all of which were resolved.
Every farm raising organic chickens for us is third-party audited for meeting the requirements of the National Organic Program for USDA Certified Organic. Third-party organic certifiers inspect farms annually. All 166 farms raising organic chickens passed their audit; the audits identified three minor nonconformances.
Our operations are regularly subject to audits by our customers to ensure adherence to their standards. We passed all customer audits.
We use third-party video monitoring in live-bird handling areas of all 11 of our broiler harvest facilities. This includes random reviews of video, covering 10 million birds in 223,000 audit events over the past 12 months. During that time, we achieved a compliance rate of 99.83% and have had a reduction of more than 29% of audit nonconformances across all audited facilities.