MIAMI – Burger King Corporation is now requiring suppliers to adhere to animal care and handling guidelines and has asked USDA to fully enforce the Humane Slaughter Act.
Following the fast food company’s petition June 28, officials from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service agreed to meet with company executives July 10.
The Burger King petition came on the heels of another demand the previous week from animal rights and labor groups to the same effect.
Burger King is establishing animal handling verification guidelines for all cattle and swine slaughterhouses based on the American Meat Institute’s audit program.
The company is also establishing animal handling verification guidelines for all poultry slaughterhouses based on the National Chicken Council’s guidelines.
The council is also updating those guidelines to include more specific, measurable performance criteria, in response to Burger King’s request.
Initial audits of all cattle, swine and poultry slaughterhouses that supply raw materials to the Burger King system will begin by Oct. 31. These audits will determine which suppliers will be approved to supply Burger King.
Burger King will also adopt guidelines for laying hens recommended by the United Egg Producers.
The American Humane Association welcomed Burger King’s announcement of improved animal handling guidelines for its suppliers.
Association President Timothy O’Brien said Burger King’s new guidelines “incorporate some of American Humane’s strict farm animal welfare standards under which the ‘free farmed label’ is awarded. This is an important step forward for farm animals.”