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Americans more picky about animal products

Americans are increasingly picky about what they eat, especially when it comes to the ways that farm animals are killed, processed, sold and served as food. And US businesses are following this trend in purchasing the food ingredients.

Fast-food chains are changing the way they purchase pork and eggs; chefs are dropping ingredients not seen as animal friendly; farmers and slaughterhouses are changing how they treat livestock, and one grocery store chain is even adding animal-welfare ratings to its meats.


Changes at major firms

In June, the nation's largest meat processor, Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, Arkansas, said the fresh chicken brand it sold in stores would come from birds raised without antibiotics. Fast-food giant Burger King said in March that it would buy more eggs and pork from farms that gave animals more living space. Later this year, Whole Foods Market Inc., the natural and organic grocery chain, plans to introduce a multitiered rating system on its meat and poultry that focuses on specific measures of animal treatment. Whole Foods is trying to address the concerns of shoppers by posting its farm animal standards online.
Smithfield Foods Inc ., the nation's largest pork producer, in January launched a 10-year transition plan to take its pigs out of the tiny stalls that are now the industry standard and put them in larger group pens.


Slow change
"It is too soon to say if these moves will dramatically alter the way America is farming, but they are hopeful signs," said Peter Singer, a Princeton University bioethics professor."It is good that the market is responding to consumer demands."


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