Mountaire first poultry company to become One Health Certified

MILLSBORO — Mountaire Farms has become the nation’s first chicken company to become approved in One Health Certified™ — a new comprehensive animal care program that is verified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One Health Certified™ focuses on five core areas of animal production: disease prevention, veterinary care, responsible antibiotic use, animal welfare and environmental impacts. It was developed by a coalition of technical experts from protein companies as well as non-profit organizations and universities and is now administered by the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research (NIAMRRE) hosted by Iowa State University.

Mountaire successfully completed USDA audits in November 2019 at all its production facilities, including hatcheries, feed mills, grow out, and harvest plants, verifying that the company was complying with the strict new guidelines.

“It was important to us that we participate in a holistic and ethical program that strives for optimal health outcomes for animals, consumers, and the planet,” said Dr. Don Ritter, a veterinarian who serves as director of technical marketing for Mountaire Farms. “One Health Certified™ successfully avoids the trade-offs and unintended consequences of more narrowly focused programs, which may at times put animal health and welfare at unnecessary risk.”

“This is a positive move forward for animal agriculture and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Phillip Plylar, president of Mountaire Farms. “This program provides transparency, increased areas of accountability, covers multiple proteins, and does it all with one label. This is something our customers have been asking for and we believe is the right thing to do for them, the animals in our care, and for the environment.”

The new label will be appearing on poultry products in grocery stores within the next few months.

To learn more about One Health Certified™, visit www.onehealthcertified.org.

The official list of One Health Certified™ audited and approved producers and organizations is maintained by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and is available to the public at https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/auditing/one-health.

With operations in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas, Mountaire Farms is the sixth largest chicken producer. Its products reach markets regionally, nationally and internationally.