ANN ARBOR, Mich. – NSF International unveiled its new Global Animal Wellness Standards which establish best practices for how animals are raised, kept and managed.

Key areas the standards address include animal sources, health and safety; design maintenance and protection in the animal environment, facilities and equipment; animal handling, husbandry and commitment to animal wellness culture; and feed and water.

NSF said the standards require facilities to establish, document and implement an animal welfare management system. The baseline level provides an entry point for farms or facilities in developing markets where practices have not yet been formalized. Customers can involve supplier at the baseline, but NSF said the standards encourage growth and development to achieve higher levels of compliance.

The “assurance” tier provides customers with confidence that suppliers are implementing and following best practices in animal wellness. The third and highest tier is “certification” which demonstrates total commitment and compliance. All levels require independent audits to verify compliance.

“Animal welfare is an issue that impacts the agricultural and food production industry across the globe,” said Robert Prevendar, global managing director of supply chain food safety at NSF International. “NSF International’s Global Animal Wellness Standards are designed to be relevant in every country, region and market. The standards ensure specifiers, facilities and producers that a strong, consistent animal wellness system is instituted wherever animals and animal products are sourced.”

NSF International facilitates standards development, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries. The company provides HACCP validation and inspection, label claims verification and certification, DNA and food package testing and other food and product safety verification services.