Seattle food retailer gets ahead on chicken trend
improve the welfare of chickens raised for meat by meeting the standards of Compassion in World Farming’s Better Chicken Initiative (BCI) and the Joint Animal Protection Organization Statement on Broiler Chicken Welfare.
PCC also announced that it will introduce a private-label line of organic, air-chilled chicken in partnership with Sanger, Cali.-based Pitman Farms. As the first farm in its industry to be verified with the Non-GMO Project, Pitman Farms has a long legacy of responsible farming, animal welfare and environmental standards. Available in store in late May, PCC Organic Chicken will include fresh chicken that meets the BCI requirements.
“Today we expand upon PCC’s longstanding commitment to healthier food production systems,” said Brenna Davis, PCC Community Markets VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility, “ensuring that chickens raised for meat are treated in ways recommended by our nation’s top experts. We are grateful to partner with Compassion in World Farming on this important issue, and together, we hope to inspire our industry to do better.”
PCC currently carries organic fresh and frozen chicken that meets higher welfare standards than conventional commercial methods. PCC will further this by pledging that 100 percent of its fresh and frozen chicken, and ready-to-eat chicken products, meet the following guidelines by 2024:
- Transition to strains of birds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol or Global Animal Partnership (GAP). Reduce stocking density to a maximum of 6 lbs. per square foot and prohibit broiler cages;
- Provide birds enhanced environments including litter, lighting and enrichment that meets GAP’s new standards;
- Process chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multistep controlled-atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun; and
- Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third-party auditing.
“As the first retailer to commit to improving broiler chicken welfare for its ready-to-eat chicken products in addition to fresh and frozen chicken, PCC furthers its strong and longstanding commitment to farmed animal welfare,” said Katya Simkhovich, Food Business Manager with Compassion in World Farming. “We are thrilled to have PCC as a partner in continuing to push the needle meaningfully forwards on broiler chicken animal welfare.”
PCC has among the highest product standards in the country. More than 95 percent of its produce selection is organic; its meats are 100 percent organic, non-GMO or grass fed; its seafood is sustainably sourced adhering to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch standards; and, whenever possible, the co-op sources its products from organic and local producers, farmers, ranchers and fishers. Its shelves are stocked with products made without harmful artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, nanotechnology or synthetic biology. It also has one of the cleanest selections of health and body care products, turning away more than 500 ingredients allowed at other retailers.
Founded in Seattle in 1953, PCC Community Markets is the nation’s largest community-owned food market with 11 stores in the Puget Sound area.