Sharing Our Audit Results

Mérieux NutriSciences Audit Results

Criteria for this audit are based on the “National Chicken Council Animal Welfare Guidelines” published by the National Chicken Council (updated in 2017 and PAACO certified) and “Poultry Slaughter Plant and Farm Audit: Critical Control Points for Bird Welfare, August 2005,” published by Temple Grandin, PHD, at

NutriSciences conducted annual audits at 11 of our poultry live production and harvesting operations, including hatchery, grow out (farms), catching and transportation, and processing. The audit covers a total of 67 audit points, scored on a scale of 1-5, for a maximum possible score of 335 points. Operations are rated on a percentage basis.

  • We received scores between 94 and 100 for all locations audited.
  • We had 1 major non-conformances for a live bird entering the scalder, it was assumed since the bird was observed after the backup harvester and the head puller was clogged. Plant passed its re-audit.
  • We had 24 minor non-conformances:
    • 5 of these were for operations clean catching and loading birds that were unfit for travel
    • 3 for Gait scores outside 7 days of harvest
    • 4 issues with holding sheds
    • 4 broken wings
    • 3 no training on handling chicks
    • 2 birds missing the mechanical knife

USDA Process Verified Program Audit Results

Our USDA Process Verified Program (Updated continuously and PAACO certified) covers all of our live-production and harvesting operations. The audit tool combines the principles from the National Chicken Council Animal Welfare Guidelines (Updated 2017 and PAACO certified) and our “Best Practices.” Participation in this program is approved by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA. Companies that operate under a Process Verified Program must comply with criteria outlined in the program requirements, and that are audited annually. Since the AMS audits were developed utilizing ISO 19001 Guides for Quality Management Systems audits, they are not “scored.” Instead, they only identify non-conformances, which are classified as “major” and or “minor.”

The past year, the USDA Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program’s Quality Assessment Division conducted annual audits in 1 of our 11 chicken live-production and harvesting operations for conformance to our USDA Process Verified Program Poultry Care. The Pandemic caused the Government agency to stop all travel. We continued to conduct our monthly audits with the local Poultry Care Officers and we also conducted our regional audits on all facilities. The USDA has scheduled on site visits for each of our facilities in Calendar 2021 to get us caught up. Each audit covers a minimum of 188 audit points in more than 50 areas. In 2019 our PVP audits:

  • No findings with the plant that was audited by USDA.

Global Animal Partnership

Some of our customers require Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certification, which applies to the farms raising chickens for those products. GAP certified farms are audited every 15 months.

  • During 2020, GAP audited 171 farms, all of which passed GAP certification. GAP identified:
    • 1 major non-conformances - for stocking density issues
    • 9 minor non-conformances - highest number of issues were for not meeting correct number of enrichments (5), (2) outdoor shade not adequate and (2) for range pens not correct size.

USDA Certified Organic

Every farm raising organic chickens for us is third party audited for meeting the requirements of the National Organic Program for USDA Certified Organic. Farms are inspected annually by third party organic certifiers.

  • All 163 farms raising organic chickens passed their audit. The audits identified 29 non-conformances.
    • 10 records issues of varying types
    • 9 needing a larger buffer area
    • 3 issues with FAIR all different issues
    • 7 other issues for different things
  • We did change certifiers this year and they looked at certain things different than past certifiers. It was good to have new eyes on the operations.

Customer Welfare Audits

Our operations are regularly subject to audits by our customers to ensure adherence to their standards. We passed all customer audits.

Third-Party Video Monitoring

We use third-party video monitoring in live-bird handling areas of all 11 of our harvest facilities. This includes random reviews of video covering 13.6 million birds in 292,700 audit events during 2020. During that time, we achieved a compliance rate of 99.9 percent.

We also had 6 of our operations using video to monitor our live haul operations. This includes random reviews of video covering 1.6 million birds in 9,743 audit events during 2020. During that time, we achieved a compliance rate of 99.6 percent. We did have interruptions in the process due to COVID, our plan is to have all operations video monitored by the end of this fiscal year.

Corporate Stewardship Report

Company Stewardship Report

Learn about the steps we're taking to reach our goal of becoming the most trusted name in food and agricultural products.