Today, Hormel Foods was made aware of an undercover video taken at a Maschhoffs farm. This farm is a supplier to numerous large food companies, including Hormel Foods. Animal stewardship, including the care and humane treatment of animals, is one of our most important values. Hormel Foods has a strict supplier code of conduct and policies relating to animal care and welfare. We will not tolerate any violation of these policies. As such, we have issued a suspension of all the Maschhoffs, LLC Oklahoma sow operations while a thorough investigation is completed.
Hormel Foods Corporation has also dispatched certified third-party auditors to these Oklahoma farms and to additional Maschhoffs sites to verify our animal care requirements are being adhered to. We expect, and have been assured, that the Maschhoffs, LLC will cooperate with the investigation.
As it relates to the use of gestation crates, Hormel Foods had made a commitment that its company-owned farm will be gestation crate free by 2018. We are pleased to report that this conversion will be completed in the next 30 days. In addition, a key part of our Animal Welfare Advisory Council’s charter is to understand and recommend animal welfare procedures and practices that are in the best interest of the animals. This group will continue to look closely at all industry practices for opportunities for continuous improvement. We have a shared goal in this regard.