Wayne Farms LLC, a provider of chicken products to the foodservice industry for more than 60 years, launched its first ever Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Step 2 Rated line of premium chicken products, branded NAKED TRUTH, at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) Show in Anaheim, Calif. on June 5, 2017. With a lengthy list of restaurants already having joined the “Class of 2024”—referring to the year those restaurants will source product only from suppliers who have implemented the practices recommended under the GAP rating system—Wayne Farms recognized a need for foodservice and retail customers to compete sooner versus later for those consumers who want product grown under the GAP animal welfare rating system.  

In addition to third-party certification, the NAKED TRUTH brand commits to heightened transparency by providing more information about how chickens are raised and processed, including farm stories and the people behind the products.

“While we are very excited about the new offerings, it’s important for everyone to understand that we are committed to humane care and controlling and managing animal health for all our chickens—not just those that are GAP 2 rated,” said Clint Rivers, chief executive officer for Wayne Farms. “While we will continue to produce all of our birds in accordance with widely accepted production and handling practices, we have selected the GAP rating system as an additional tool to further document and communicate how we produce our chickens for those customers needing that additional validation,” he added.

As compared to its traditionally raised flocks, those sold under the NAKED TRUTH line will be raised in houses with lower density and stocking rates; more lighting and added enrichments; and grown to lower weight than typically used in foodservice. Finally, in 2018, birds harvested with the use of controlled atmosphere versus electrical stunning will be available under the NAKED TRUTH line of products.

As the company grows flocks to support this initiative, it will be evaluating the possible impacts on overall flock health. 

“We are leaving our options open as we start producing birds grown this way,” said Dr. Bryan Miller, vice president of quality assurance and food safety. “We owe it to our stakeholders to ensure that the enrichments we adopt are based on sound science, and that they actually make a positive difference.  If we find something that’s beneficial, we will consider applying the practice across our operations,” Miller added.

Starting with one production plant, the company further anticipates expanding capacity for the new offerings as demand increases. The first GAP Step 2 Rated products are expected to ship in September of 2017.

Source: Wayne Farms LLC