Jennie-O Turkey Store has established clear, simple handling guidelines and closely monitors adherence to these guidelines to ensure standards are upheld throughout each step of raising, transporting and processing turkeys. These animal-handling practices are consistent with policies set forth by the National Turkey Federation and the American Veterinary Medical Association, which include information about proper loading, unloading and processing techniques.
Prior to working with turkeys at the company’s farms and processing facilities, new employees undergo a thorough training program to familiarize themselves with techniques related to their respective jobs. Training for all employees is ongoing and includes monthly, annual and periodic audits to evaluate best-practice guidelines executed by employees. These audits gauge employee compliance with handling procedures and welfare guidelines for factors such as air and water quality, and access to food.
Jennie-O Turkey Store requires all independent and contract suppliers to follow a two-step process to ensure the highest animal welfare standards are applied when handling turkeys. Conditional certification is obtained after the independent/contract producer completes company-provided training in animal handling. Final certification is obtained after employees in the turkey procurement area complete an onsite inspection and an audit of the independent/contract producer’s operation. Recertification is required every three years.
Results of internal and third-party audits conducted at company hatcheries, grower farms and processing plants show adherence to National Turkey Federation animal welfare guidelines. At Jennie-O Turkey Store processing facilities, daily internal audits are conducted by quality assurance and operations personnel to maintain the highest animal welfare practices. Furthermore, the Jennie-O Turkey Store Animal Welfare Review Board meets regularly to ensure accountability of the company’s standards.