Animal Welfare

We are committed to supplying Sysco Brand shell egg, meat and poultry products that are produced responsibly by growers who treat animals with care.

We work with our Sysco Brand veal, beef, lamb, pork and poultry suppliers, as well as shell egg and processed egg suppliers, to promote the humane treatment of animals at all times, in line with legal requirements. Our supplier facilities must comply with industry recognized standards that address key elements of animal care from housing to harvest.

Our Approach

Sysco's Animal Welfare Advisory Council meets up to three times a year with the Sysco Quality Assurance (QA) team to discuss animal welfare issues, including supplier performance. The Council, made up of Sysco Quality Assurance and Merchandising personnel and invited animal welfare experts from academia and industry, exists to provide feedback to the Sysco Corporation Management team on the design, development and implementation of its animal welfare and handling programs, and to offer advice on emerging issues.

To ensure that suppliers of Sysco Brand meat, poultry and eggs meet our standards, we require that they complete ongoing self-assessments of their animal care programs; allow unannounced, annual third-party Animal Welfare audits at their facilities; and submit to additional audits by a team of Sysco QA employees who are certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO).

When instances of noncompliance are found, we work with suppliers to develop and implement corrective actions. We discontinue sourcing products from suppliers who do not introduce improvements or who have committed a critical violation of our standards.

Our Performance

In CY2014, 160 third-party animal welfare audits were conducted with a 100 percent pass rate. Sysco QA staff members conducted 50 second party audits with a 100 percent pass rate.

Working in Partnership

We continue to participate in the steering committee of the Coalition for Sustainable Animal Agriculture (CSAA), which aims to improve animal welfare standards by working with producers, processors, retailers and food service companies to share scientific research and best practices.

Expanding Our Commitment

Group Housed Pork Commitment

Sysco takes its role as a responsible corporate citizen in the food supply chain seriously. We use science-based standards for animal welfare and work diligently with our suppliers to ensure humane treatment of animals. We also listen closely to our customers' desires. Although there are many ways to house sows, several customers and suppliers have expressed their desire to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains. Therefore, Sysco is committed to working with its suppliers to create a gestation crate-free supply chain. To measure progress in this area, we have begun to collect information from our pork suppliers about their progress toward eliminating gestation crates and moving toward group sow housing.

While most pork supplies come from a large number of independent farms, making it difficult for these changes to happen quickly, we will continue to work with our pork suppliers to develop a timeline to achieve this goal.

Cage-Free Egg Commitment

Please note: The text below was updated in June, 2016

In June, 2016, Sysco announced its plans to work with its suppliers toward a goal of sourcing only cage-free eggs by 2026, dependent upon available supply, affordability and customer demand. This new commitment builds on the company's longstanding practice to demand high standards in the humane treatment of animals sourced for its Sysco brand products. Since 2004, all Sysco brand shell egg suppliers have been certified by the United Egg Producers (UEP) Animal Husbandry Guidelines and also undergo annual animal welfare audits.

In setting a sustainable egg policy, the company considered many issues in addition to animal welfare, including food affordability, food safety and quality, environmental impacts and the health and safety of egg producers. The company believes the transition to a 100 percent cage-free egg supply chain by 2026 will require significant collaboration amongst industry participants, including our suppliers, to specifically address food affordability and environmental concerns. Sysco is committed to working through the supply chain to achieve a sustainable solution for both egg producers and our customers.