General Mills Says It Will Eventually Use Only Cage-Free Eggs In U.S. Operations

General Mills is the latest big food company to jump on the cage-free egg bandwagon, announcing today that it’s preparing to make the move to only use eggs from hens that aren’t confined to cages in 100% of its U.S. operations… eventually.

The company says the move is part of an updated animal welfare policy that now extends throughout its global supply chain, reports Associated Press, but didn’t nail down a date for that change. It’s now working with suppliers to figure out a “reasonable timeline” to execute the plan.

General Mills uses eggs in many of its products, though some brands like Haagen-Dazs already use not only cage-free eggs, but free-range eggs.

Animal advocates are praising the company for joining others in treating the animals we use for food with more consideration.

“General Mills’ announcement is a major victory to improve the lives of farm animals,” Josh Balk, senior director of food policy for the Humane Society of the United States, told the AP.

The organization worked with General Mills on its new policy, which is based on the British government’s Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare. Those pillars include freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom from fear and distress; and freedom to engage in normal patterns of animal behavior.

Walmart adopted a similar policy based on those British precepts in May, while Dunkin’ Donuts also recently said it was looking into cage-free eggs.

General Mills already held to those principles in regards to its dairy suppliers, but the new policy expands those methods to all animals in its worldwide supply chain, says Steve Peterson, the company’s director of sustainable sourcing.

The company won’t be cage-free immediately, however, as General Mills needs time to work with suppliers to make sure there are enough ingredients raised in line with the new policy.

“You just don’t make these transitions quickly,” Peterson adds.

General Mills plans major move toward cage-free eggs [Associated Press]

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