Updated October 25,2017:
Farm Forward has taken a leading role in creating the revised animal welfare standards for the Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFPP). This month version 2.0 (V2) of GFPP standards were released publicly. The new standards reflect important changes that include:
- All participating institutions must meet a higher baseline of welfare. V2 requires that signatories buy at least 15 percent of their meat, dairy, or eggs from products that are either Organic, Certified Humane, or GAP Step 1 certification. Version 1.0 accepted products that were “antibiotic free” at level 1, but upon our recommendation were removed from V2.
- V2 includes additional incentives to reduce overall consumption of meat and dairy products. Institutions have the option of either purchasing higher-welfare animals products or reducing the amount they spend on animal products. Institutions can also receive extra points if they offer only vegetarian or vegan meals.
- V2 no longer includes American Humane Certified as a meaningful certification (except for products that meet their “Free Range” standards). This is a significant change because as recently reported in the New York Times, American Humane Certified does not measure up to other certifications when it comes to animal welfare and transparency. It enables industrial meat producers to take advantage of consumers by offering a welfare certification that doesn’t truly reflect higher welfare for farmed animals. Read more about the differences between welfare certifications here.
Excitingly, just as the new standards were released, the City of Chicago passed the GFPP thanks to the hard work of the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council. Chicago Public Schools join Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland in leading the nation in the good food movement. Serving nearly 380,000 students annually—which constitutes 27 million breakfasts and 43 million free lunches per school year—Chicago Public Schools spent close to $80 million on food purchases in 2016 – 2017 alone. Thanks to our work establishing V2 of GFPP, now 15 percent of the total dollars spent on meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy must meet minimum welfare standards. That may mean as much as $3M dollars will now be spent on certified higher-welfare products annually.
Farm Forward is thrilled to announce that we are a national partner of the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP), a comprehensive food policy developed by the Center for Good Food Purchasing that addresses local economies, treatment of workers, the environment, and animal welfare. We’ve taken a leading role in defining the animal welfare standards for the program and have committed to providing ongoing support to institutions that adopt GFPP so that we can help them identify and locate higher-welfare animal products.
Last June the San Francisco Unified School District became the second school district in the nation—following Los Angeles Unified School District—to adopt the GFPP and in doing so has committed to providing higher-quality and more sustainable food to the children of San Francisco. Today, we are proud to say that Oakland Unified School District is now the third school district to join the family of cities and school districts across the country leading efforts to source local, sustainable, fair, humane and healthy meals.
Farm Forward promotes food choices that minimize farmed animal suffering, and our partnership with the Center enables us to leverage the buying power of institutions and governments to change the way America eats and farms. By helping major groups like San Francisco and Oakland schools move their supply chains to higher-quality providers we are improving the availability of better animal products to average consumers.
One of the ways we’re already leveraging large organizations is through BuyingPoultry—our guide to identifying and purchasing higher-welfare poultry—which has emerged as an invaluable tool for institutions seeking to improve their supply chains. Just like consumers, large institutions need guidance and expertise to help them identify products and practices that align with their values. BuyingPoultry is leading major groups to make better purchasing decisions. This will ultimately impact overall demand for higher-welfare products, and our partnership with the Center is doing the same. Perhaps Alexa Delwiche, Executive Director of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, put it best when she said:
“Our work with schools and other public institutions not only aims to improve conditions today but helps establish new cultural norms around the treatment of farmed animals. Ultimately, as institutions work together they will play a major role in building new models of farming for the future.”
We applaud San Francisco and now Oakland for adopting the policy and for taking the first step toward improving animal welfare within their supply chain. Farm Forward is working hard to expand this important work to include even more schools, universities, and businesses in our fight to end factory farming and improve welfare for billions of animals.