batterycages_406x250As part of a new animal welfare policy, major food manufacturer General Mills has pledged to shift its egg-buying practices in the U.S. to source exclusively from cage-free suppliers. The company did not provide a timeline for implementing the change. Its Häagen-Dazs ice cream brand already sources entirely from cage-free suppliers in Europe, the company said. Following the announcement, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, praised General Mills for the move, which he said “will translate into better outcomes for all of the animals in its supply chain.” The food safety benefits of cage-free eggs are not well established. According to a March 2015 report from the Sustainable Egg Coalition, there is no discernible difference between the amount of Salmonella shed by hens in battery cage systems compared to cage-free systems. Major grocery retailer Costco recently faced heat for not yet fulfilling its 2007 pledge to transition to sourcing entirely cage-free eggs. As part of the cage-free egg-sourcing pledge, General Mills announced five “freedoms” it pledged to ensure for the animals involved in its food production chain:

  • Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition.
  • Freedom from discomfort.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
  • Freedom from fear and distress.
  • Freedom to engage in normal patterns of animal behavior.

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