Starbucks wants cage-free eggs, sets standards for meat, dairy

By Philip Brasher

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2014 - Starbucks says it will to shift to cage-free eggs and pork raised without the use of sow gestation crates as the coffee chain upgrades requirements for its suppliers.

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In a statement on its website, the company also said it would eliminate the use of artificial growth hormones and other growth-promoting practices in its meat supply.

 “Specifically, our priority,” the company says, “is to ensure we offer food made with ingredients such as cage-free eggs, gestation crate-free pork, and poultry processed through more human systems such as CAK,” or “controlled-atmosphere killing,” a system in which a combination of gases are used to asphyxiate birds.

Starbucks has not set deadlines for the changes to take place, saying instead that it was working on “creating reasonable timeframes.” The policy does not provide any detail on the current production practices of suppliers. But the new policy for the first time sets specific goals. Starbucks had previously stated that it would be "establishing a buying preference" for "animal welfare-friendly practices."

The Humane Society of the United States, which has been pressuring food companies to force their suppliers to tighten animal welfare standards, praised the Starbucks policy, even if it lacks a timeline.

“While the time frame for the switchover has not yet been announced by Starbucks, this may be the most comprehensive animal welfare policy of any national restaurant chain, because this announcement includes both shell and liquid eggs (which are used for its pastries, which it sells in such volume),” HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said in a blog post.

 
(This story was updated at 9:10 p.m. Eastern time.)

 

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