At Albertsons Companies, we strive to maintain high animal welfare standards across all areas of our business. Our relationships with industry experts have guided our animal welfare policies. Our Animal Well-Being Advisory Council is made up of experts from academia and industry. We value their support and guidance on the humane treatment of animals.
As a grocer, providing what our customers want is at the heart of all the decisions we make. Simply put, we want to run really good stores where customers love to shop and can find the products they want, and part of that philosophy includes responsibly increasing the quantity of pork we source from vendors that have made commitments to transitioning to group-housed systems for their breeding sows. As our company has grown, we have also expanded the availability and quantity of our Open Nature pork products, which come exclusively from group-housed sow sources.
These issues are at the core of our responsible business practices, and we work to continuously improve the positive impact we have. We are pleased to have been one of the first retailers to commit to exclusively sourcing cage-free shell and liquid eggs for our Own Brands by 2025. All liquid and shell eggs in our O Organics™ and Open Nature brands are already cage-free and are certified to meet humane standards for animal treatment. In 2018, 29% of our liquid and shell eggs and 100% of our Own Brands hard-boiled eggs sold in our stores were cage-free. We are actively working with our supply chain to expedite the transition and also exploring ways to educate our customers about these products.
We require all of our dairy suppliers to be certified to the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) animal care standards or a more stringent equivalent. This means our dairy suppliers are committed to quality farm management practices as well as safe, wholesome dairy products. We joined the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to advance the efforts of the dairy community by sharing best practices and improving accountability within the industry.
We believe in the responsible use of livestock antibiotics for the prevention, control and treatment of disease, and we recommend our suppliers follow the American Veterinary Medical Association Judicious Use Guidelines. Suppliers that misuse antibiotics, feed additives or supplements that cause a negative impact to an animal’s well-being are excluded from our programs.
We conduct annual humane handling audits through our own internal PAACO Certified auditor on our Own Brand vendors in addition to requiring our fresh beef and pork suppliers to have 3rd party validation on-file of meeting AMI Standards for Humane Handling guidelines. We are also a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, as well as a member of the Pork Retail Advisory Committee, which meets at least once a year to review relevant industry issues, including animal well-being.