Ahold Delhaize USA, the parent company of supermarket brands Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford and Stop & Shop, announced new sustainability policies for genetically modified food (GMOs) and farm animal welfare.
“At Food Lion, a healthy and sustainable community is at the heart of everything we do,” said Geoff Waldau, executive vice president of Merchandising at Food Lion. “We are committed to nourishing our neighbors in the towns and cities we serve in a sustainable manner. In addition to providing healthier food choices and more locally sourced products for our customers, we are working hard to deliver greater transparency into the food they buy. The addition of these policies furthers our commitment to nutritious, transparent products that meet our customers’ preferences and lifestyles.”
Under the new GMO policy, Ahold Delhaize USA companies are requiring all private brand products to have clear on-pack Bioengineered Food labeling, well ahead of the Federal Bioengineered labeling deadline of January 1, 2022.
All Ahold Delhaize USA companies support the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. The companies are also committed to monitoring science and assessing risk around GMOs and will look to organizations like the World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to continue to enhance the GMO policy.
For customers of its local brands that want to avoid GMOs, Ahold Delhaize USA brands offer Nature’s Promise products, which are USDA organic and do not have intentionally added GMOs. The local brands also offer products that are non-GMO certified by a third party. The local brands do not knowingly sell animal products derived from genetically modified protein sources, including salmon, and do not plan to carry these products in the future.
Under the new farm animal welfare policy, Ahold Delhaize USA companies expect suppliers of whole or single ingredient cattle products, whole pork products, whole or single ingredient poultry products and other whole or single-ingredient products derived from farm animals to have an established publicly facing animal welfare policy, report annually that they meet animal welfare acceptable levels of assurance and disclose progress through an annual animal welfare assessment and provide adequate training in their native language to all individuals involved with the direct handling of animals throughout the supply chain.
The animal welfare policy applies to all suppliers. Ahold Delhaize USA companies will begin working toward compliance with private brand suppliers and work with all suppliers to improve compliance throughout the total assortment of whole or single ingredient products by 2025. Ahold Delhaize USA companies will begin annual reporting on the areas covered by the animal welfare policy beginning in 2021.
“At Ahold Delhaize USA, we strive to have local impact with a greater purpose in all that we do,” said Kevin Holt, CEO, Ahold Delhaize USA, in a statement. “Each of our local brands recognizes the great responsibility they have to advance sustainability initiatives in their local communities and nourish customers in a way that is transparent and sustainable. In addition, our East Coast presence enables our brands to make a real and positive impact in the communities they serve. The addition of these policies furthers the brands’ commitments to provide nutritious, transparent products that meet customers’ preferences and lifestyles.”
Quincy, Mass.-based Ahold Delhaize USA operates more than 2,000 stores and distribution centers across 23 states through its Food Lion, Giant Food, The GIANT Company, Hannaford and Stop & Shop retail banners.