A new program administered by the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research & Education (NIAMRRE) will soon give producers a "better way to demonstrate to consumers that they follow responsible animal care principles."
According to NIAMRRE, One Health Certified, a comprehensive animal care program, establishes verified animal production practices in five core areas: disease prevention, veterinary care, responsible antibiotic use, animal welfare and environmental impacts.
Companies that align their procedures to meet the program standards and pass an audit administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture qualify for certification in the program and the right to label their retail and wholesale products with a logo that conveys that responsible animal care practices have been followed and verified, NIAMRRE said.
Participating in this USDA Process Verified Program provides an objective, third-party verification that producers will fully comply with the guidelines of the program. Through this process, participating companies will demonstrate their management commitment, transparency and accountability to follow the responsible animal care practices outlined in the One Health Certified program standards, the announcement said.
Mountaire Farms, the nation’s sixth-largest chicken producer, is the first company to adopt the standards for chicken. The company successfully completed audits in all of its production complexes in November 2019, when USDA verified that the company's practices met the One Health Certified standards, NIAMRRE said.
“It was important to us that we participate in a holistic and ethical program that strives for optimal health outcomes for animals, consumers and the planet,” said Dr. Don Ritter, director of technical marketing at Mountaire Farms. “One Health Certified successfully avoids the trade-offs and unintended consequences of more narrowly focused programs, which may, at times, put animal health and welfare at unnecessary risk.”
NIAMRRE said the One Health Certified program defines species-specific requirements for each animal protein under one universal program. Chicken and turkey are the first species for which audit standards have been established. Additional animal protein standards are in progress and will become available for certification in the near future.
“As an organization, NIAMRRE is delighted to support the One Health Certified program,” NIAMRRE executive director Dr. Paul Plummer said. “The program is true to the One Health principles of multiple organizations and disciplines working together to improve human health, veterinary health, agriculture and the environment.”
Visit www.onehealthcertified.org to learn more or participate in the program. The official list of One Health Certified audited and approved producers and organizations is maintained by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and is available to the public at https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/auditing/one-health.
NIAMRRE provides local, national and international leadership in combating antimicrobial resistance. Based at the Iowa State University Research Park in Ames, Iowa, NIAMRRE drives collaborative and integrative research, education and engagement to solve antimicrobial resistance challenges and benefit society using a One Health approach.