World’s first dairy certified to NSF Global Animal Wellness Standard

NSF, a global public health and safety organisation, has certified the first-ever company to its Global Animal Wellness Standard (GAWS) for dairy production. Saudi Arabia based Almarai achieved GAWS certification for its dairy and live poultry operations. It is the first company to be certified for dairy production in the world and the first company to be certified for poultry hatchery, meat poultry production and poultry production and poultry transportation in the Middle East.

Launched in 2019, the NSF GAWS establishes a universal approach to animal health and wellness. For the first time, GAWS offers industry producers and buyers an outcome-based solution that addresses the entire lifecycle of all key species. It establishes best practices for how animals are kept, raised, and responsibly managed and, most importantly, addresses animal management systems.

“NSF Global Animal Wellness Standards enable the food industry to shift away from traditional prescriptive approaches to animal welfare schemes, to one focused on systems management and outcomes,” said Dr Elaine Vanier, technical scheme lead for Animal Wellness, NSF International. “Animal welfare is an issue that impacts the agricultural and food production industry globally. We are pleased that Almarai achieved GAWS certification to help ensure consistent animal wellness is instituted at every stage of their dairy and live poultry production.”

Almarai is the Middle East’s largest dairy producer and the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy company. Since 2019, they have worked closely with NSF to implement animal welfare management systems on their journey to GAWS certification. “Almarai is one the most trusted food companies in the region and known for its product quality. We place great importance on animal welfare. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also to ensure consistent high quality and safer products,” said Kevin Wonnacott, divisional QHSE manager at Almarai. “NSF has been hugely supportive throughout the whole process, which enabled us to setup up and aligned our animal welfare management system to the latest international standards.” GAWS aligns with Almarai’s sustainability strategy, Better Every Day, which focuses on caring for consumers, protecting the environment and producing responsible products.

NSF GAWS establish best practices by benchmarking against global animal welfare regulations and domestic animal welfare regulatory requirements, industry standards and codes of practices. Consistent with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Specifications 34700 and World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) guidelines.

A facility must create, document, and implement an animal welfare management system to achieve certification. There are three levels of conformance from baseline, assurance to certification, awarded to sites that demonstrate total commitment and compliance. All levels require independent audits to verify compliance and include zero tolerance for animal abuse, mistreatment or neglect.

NSF GAWS eliminates the need for food companies with global supply chains to navigate a range of different local and regional approaches to demonstrate their commitment to animal wellness by having one common, globally applicable solution.

For more information, visit NSF International’s website.

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