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Delhaize America is doing its part to make gestation stall housing for sows obsolete. In a letter to its pork suppliers, the Salisbury, N.C.-based company has asked them to report in 2014 on their progress in moving from such stalls, which many consider inhumane, to open-pen solutions.
“The company will continue to work with our suppliers to find solutions that are more sustainable and humane, and that deliver our expectations for food safety and traceability,” Delhaize America said, adding that it “supports continuous improvement in animal welfare practice through its comprehensive approach to sustainability.”
The news was greeted with approval by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “There’s simply no future for pork producers who want to continue locking pigs in these inhumane, outdated cages,” said Josh Balk, director of food policy at Washington, D.C.-based HSUS.
According to the society, Delhaize America is one of 60 major food companies working to remove gestation crates from their supply chains and throughout the pork industry; among the others are Costco, Kroger, Safeway, Supervalu, Target, ConAgra, Hillshire Farm, Hormel, Smithfield and Tyson.
Employing more than 100,000 full- and part-time associates, Delhaize America, the ninth-largest U.S. grocer, operates more than 1,500 stores in 18 East Coast states under the Bottom Dollar Food, Food Lion and Hannaford Supermarkets banners. The company is part of Brussels-based international retail conglomerate Delhaize Group.