Auditor training and certification for agricultural slaughter and production facilities will be held in January and February for the recently announced animal welfare audit program (AWAP), developed jointly by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR).

AWAP will provide retail and supermarket member verification that meat, poultry and egg suppliers are following approved animal husbandry practices.

The audits are voluntary and members could choose to use another auditing service, say AWAP rules.

In related news, an independent training and auditing service has been launched for producers and processors to confirm compliance with animal welfare standards.

Farm Animal Care Training and Auditing (FACTA), LLC, Lubbock, TX, can be used with either internal standards or those set by outside organizations, says John J. McGlone, CEO and chief scientific officer.

Farm animal welfare guidelines have been issued by agricultural commodity groups and the food industry's AWAP rules.

“Many producers and processors are struggling with the new guidelines, which continue to evolve as the industry associations, FMI and NCCR, continue to make refinements,” remarks McGlone. “FACTA offers objective, science-based reports that can be used in concert with suppliers to determine compliance with animal welfare guidelines.”

FACTA is a private business and not affiliated with any group.

McGlone is professor of animal science and director of the Pork Industry Center at Texas Tech University, and has more than 20 years of experience in the field of animal science. He founded FACTA with William R. Patterson, a certified public accountant.

For more information, log on to www.factallc.com.