At Sysco, Animal Welfare Is Human Nature

Sysco takes seriously the role of providing our customers responsibly sourced food from animals. We use science-based standards for animal welfare and work diligently with our suppliers to ensure humane handling practices for animals that provide our customers fresh and frozen meats and poultry, ground meats and sausage, deli meats, and shell or processed eggs.

We engage industry experts and leading animal scientists to continually assess and improve conditions for the animals upon which we rely, and have incorporated Animal Welfare and Handling Guidelines and Independent Animal Welfare and Handling Practices audits into our annual Independent Audit Program. This is a requirement for all Sysco Brand suppliers.


Sysco has a three-level objective auditing program to monitor and verify compliance to our Animal Welfare and Handling Practices Program among Sysco Brand suppliers. This program ensures ongoing compliance to our strict Animal Welfare Program through a three-point system of checks and balances:

  • Sysco brand suppliers are required to incorporate and demonstrate fully documented ongoing animal handling systems that meet or exceed our requirements.
  • Annual third-party audits are conducted using highly trained animal welfare and handling personnel to ensure compliance. All third-party audits are conducted by agencies approved by the Sysco Quality Assurance Department.
  • Random audits are conducted throughout the year, both on a scheduled and an unscheduled basis, by Sysco QA personnel who have been trained in animal handling and/or certified by the Professional Animal Auditing Certification Organization (PAACO).

Throughout the year, all animal welfare audits are reviewed by Sysco QA team members to identify issues requiring immediate action with detailed summaries presented for review to Sysco’s Animal Welfare Advisory Council. Any failed audit requires immediate corrective action and an acceptable re-audit confirming adequacy of the corrective actions.

Suppliers that do not meet Sysco’s Animal Handling standards face immediate disciplinary action and de-authorization as a Sysco supplier.

At Sysco, we are advocates for the humane handling of livestock and poultry. We go to great lengths to ensure that proper procedures are maintained by all Sysco Brand suppliers. To us, good animal welfare practices go deeper than government mandates and program directives … we consider them to be part of our corporate culture to ensure a sustainable food supply and be our customers’ most valued and trusted business partner.

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