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Hormel Foods sources hogs from more than 500 independent family farmers across the U.S. Midwest and from a company-owned farm in Colorado. Many of the family farms we source hogs from have been our suppliers for multiple generations.
Hog Audits
in 2022

All of our designated market hogs are housed in group pens from birth. Additionally, our company-owned hog farm has transitioned to group sow housing.

Many of our independent hog suppliers currently utilize group sow housing. The increased use of group sow housing in our supply chain depends on several factors, including the ability of our independent hog suppliers to provide Hormel Foods with commercially viable pork that meets the group housing standards and commercial demand.

In line with our animal welfare standards, the majority of our hogs are purchased through contractual agreements. Per the contract, each hog producer must agree to comply with local, state and federal laws, and the qualifications detailed in the Hormel Foods quality assurance program, which includes animal welfare requirements. We also insist that all team members who work with hogs at our company-owned farm adhere to these requirements.

Routine audits are conducted at our facilities, and we hire third-party auditors to gather information to continuously improve our animal welfare procedures. Team members have a confidential hotline so they can anonymously report any animal welfare procedure that does not meet our standards. Our corporate Animal Welfare Steering Committee as well as an animal welfare committee at each hog harvesting facility is responsible for ensuring our standards are met.

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Massachusetts Question 3 Space Requirements for Animal Housing
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Hormel Foods has assessed Question 3, and while we are still awaiting final clarity on specific details and rules, the company is preparing to fully comply when this law goes into effect. The company’s brand products already comply with Massachusetts Question 3.

Hormel Foods has confirmed that it faces no risk of material losses from compliance with Question 3. While it adds complexity to our supply chain, including costs associated with compliance, Massachusetts is an important market for Hormel Foods, and we will continue to meet the needs of our consumers and customers throughout these states.

As a global branded food company, we have a broad range of products that we currently sell in Massachusetts – from Skippy® peanut butter to Wholly® Guacamole. Question 3 impact the company’s fresh pork business. Hormel Foods is currently working with its supply chain to implement internal processes for segregation and SKU expansion. We are currently working through supply and logistics planning for affected products, and we expect a full range of compliant products to be available in our Retail and Foodservice segments. We will continue to work closely with our customers to ensure that our consumers in these states will be able to purchase the Hormel Foods products they depend upon.

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California Proposition 12
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Updated: 05/11/23

Hormel Foods has been ready for Prop 12 since January 2022 and is prepared to serve customers and consumers in the state of California.

Hormel Foods has confirmed that it faces no risk of material losses from compliance with Proposition 12 While this measure adds complexity to our supply chain, including costs associated with compliance, California is an important market for Hormel Foods, and we will continue to meet the needs of our consumers and customers throughout these states.

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Group Sow Housing
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Group Sow Housing Commitment and Next Steps

As a purchaser of animal products, we understand and value the principles of responsibility of our suppliers, including animal welfare, and we require that all animals in our supply chain are raised in a healthy environment and treated appropriately.

As it relates to sow housing alternatives, Hormel Foods understands that many of its customers have made commitments surrounding continued support of group sow housing alternatives within their supply chains. To aid these efforts, Hormel Foods will continue to support alternatives to gestation stalls, including group sow housing, and is committed to leading the way in our owned operations and playing a role in evolving the supply chain. We will continue to support customers’ and consumers’ wishes related to animal welfare standards, as we work with suppliers on how best to achieve these requirements.

Hormel Foods made a commitment to transition its company-owned sow farms to group sow housing by 2018. It met this commitment early, and today the company uses the latest sow housing technology for its company-owned sows. Our company-owned sow housing operation is also California Proposition 12 and Massachusetts Question 3 compliant. In fact, Hormel Foods was among the first companies to commit to compliance with California Proposition 12 and a wide range of compliant Hormel Foods products were available beginning in January 2022, and continue to be today. In addition, one of our subsidiaries, Applegate Farms, already houses sows in groups and has been doing so since 1987.

The next steps Hormel Foods will take are:

  • Baseline Study: Starting early in our fiscal year 2024, Hormel Foods will conduct a baseline study to understand the use and prevalence of group sow housing throughout our supply chain. Targeting spring of 2024, we will publicly share the results of this study, including the current total percentage of animals harvested coming from group housing systems within our supply chain and action steps we will take toward increasing this percentage within our supply chain in order to exceed customer/consumer demand.
  • Reporting Progress: Moving forward, our Global Impact Reports will provide quantitative data, including the total percentage of group-housed production in our supply chain, and relevant actions taken in that year.
  • Engaging Customers: We will work closely with our customers, especially those who have made similar commitments, to ensure that there is an understanding of the investments required by farmers to achieve progress in this area.
  • Working Group: We will create a working group comprised of multiple farm partners to convene at least twice a year, including with customers that have group housing commitments, to understand the issue and its importance to customers and consumers.

We understand that this is a significant commitment, and one that will be dependent on a large and complex independent supply chain and market demand. We will do our part to collaborate across our supply chain to help drive progress.

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Animal Welfare Quality Assurance Requirements
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Our animal welfare quality assurance requirements include:

  • All individuals who transport hogs to Hormel Foods must have the National Pork Board’s Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) certification. The training materials for this program cover the responsible way to treat and handle animals during loading, transportation and delivery. Handlers are taught to recognize the amount of space needed around each hog and points of balance to aid in hog movement. Achieving TQA certification requires attendance at an educational and training session, and a score of 90% or above on a written exam.
  • All sites where a producer raises hogs supplied to Hormel Foods must achieve Site Status as defined by the National Pork Board’s PQA Plus program. This is attained through an on-farm assessment that evaluates welfare and well-being principles.
  • All team members at our company-owned hog farm are required to comply with qualifications outlined in our quality management system, which includes standard operating procedures, a personal pledge of proper conduct and certifications in the National Pork Board’s PQA Plus and TQA programs. Team members cannot be promoted until they have undergone appropriate training for the new positions and until their managers have attested to their ability to work with animals in a new capacity.
  • All producers who supply hogs to Hormel Foods, and the employees of those producers, must be certified in the National Pork Board’s PQA Plus program. To achieve certification, producers must attend an educational and training session taught by a PQA Plus adviser – a veterinarian, extension professional or adult agricultural educator. The class content focuses on food safety, animal well-being, herd health, and medication decision making, administration and records management.
  • All producers who supply hogs to Hormel Foods must also adhere to the Hormel Foods Farm Animal Care and Treatment Specifications (FACTS) program. In addition to documentation and animal/facility observations, key components of the program include third-party audits and corrective actions for noncompliance.
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