PHILADELPHIA – Aramark has adopted a new set of purchasing commitments and animal welfare principles. The company is a $15 billion global provider of food, facilities management and uniforms.

Aramark's new policy builds on its previous commitments to improving animal welfare. In 2011, Aramark committed to eliminating the purchase of all foie gras. Also, the company pledged to buy only cage-free eggs in the US by 2020 and to eliminate pork from animals bred using gestation crates by 2017.

“Our commitments to health, wellness and sustainability are core to our mission of enriching and nourishing lives and include our pledge to responsible purchasing and animal welfare practices,” Eric Foss, chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. “The broad reach of our supply chain provides an opportunity for us to have a significant impact on animal welfare issues and to shift purchasing practices that impact the clients, consumers and communities we serve.”

Aramark developed its new policy in collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The policy covers additional animal welfare issues concerning the treatment of farm animals, confinement, painful procedures and growth-promoting processes.

For example, the company pledged to work with its suppliers on issues concerning confinement of pigs, castration practices, and the eventual elimination of tail docking and the use of ractopamine.

By 2017, Aramark plans to eliminate all veal produced from animals confined in crates in the US. Additionally, the company will address issues of pain relief for disbudding and castration procedures on cattle. The company also plans to eliminate use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST), zilpaterol, ractopamine, and tail docking and dehorning of cattle.

Under the new policy, suppliers will provide progress reports along with third-party documentation of their efforts. Suppliers also will be required to take “decisive action in unforeseen cases of animal abuse or cruelty”.

Finally, Aramark said the company will incorporate its animal welfare principles and policy into contracts.