If your animal welfare label doesn’t audit every farm, is it even an animal welfare label?
Sometimes, individual farms will operate within a larger group – meaning the farms are contracted to supply one larger company – what we call a “supplier.” Some animal welfare certification labels use this relationship between farm and supplier to apply “group model” or “risk-based” audits, where only a small percentage of the individual farms are actually visited and audited. For example, in this type of group model, only one out of 10 farms is visited and audited each year, even though all 10 receive certification.
From G.A.P.’s perspective, it doesn’t matter if a farm is operating independently or within an overarching supplier group – G.A.P. believes that each and every farm must be audited and certified individually. In addition, G.A.P. believes certification via third-party auditors and reviewers reduces conflicts of interest and increases the value of certification.
So How is G.A.P. Different?
If you’ve ever reviewed G.A.P.’s Standards or Policy Manual, your eyes may have glazed over at the level of detail for each requirement. But there’s good reason for this! Our policy manual is specifically written to ensure that our standards are applied consistently to all farms. We make sure each and every G.A.P. farm is audited once every 15 months. If you think this is the case with all animal welfare labels, think again. Every single product with a G.A.P. label has come from an individual farm that has been visited by a third-party auditor to make sure it meets all of our rigorous standards. In fact, more than 100 requirements have to be met just to be certified as Step 1! G.A.P. makes sure that:
- Every farm is audited, even farms that market within a larger supplier group;
- Audits occur every 15 months; and
- Farms are audited in every season (over four certification cycles).
This means we can ensure all of our 100+ standards are being met through any type of weather. Snow, mud, summer heat, and rain are no match for our certified farms and we are confident that good animal welfare is upheld through it all.
So, the next time you’re wondering which animal welfare label you can trust, remember that G.A.P. certification means every farm is audited, every 15 months. Check out our Quick Start Guide for more information on becoming a G.A.P. partner. And don’t forget to download a copy of our Policy Manual from our website.