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What Makes a Good Standard?

Can you spot the difference?

Animal welfare labels and claims seem to be everywhere on meat products these days. With so many different labels, it can be hard to keep track of the different programs and understand how they’re different.

G.A.P.’s standards are rigorous, with even Step 1 farmers having to comply with more than 100 different requirements. The G.A.P. team develops each standard with input from animal welfare scientists and experts, farmers, ranchers, and other industry representatives. In addition, G.A.P. works hard to make sure every standard is written clearly, so farmers and ranchers know how to meet it, auditors know how to audit it, and consumers know what they’re buying. That way, everyone is on the same page and each farm is held to the same mark.

Below are examples of two different standards developed for young turkeys (poults), specifically addressing their arrival to the barn from the hatchery:

G.A.P.’s Standard

    • Placement of poults must begin within two hours of delivery to the operation.
    • Documentation (whether a trucking sheet, bill of lading, delivery slip, delivery invoice, or other) of each shipment of poults from the hatchery is required that includes:
      • time of poult removal from the hatcher;
      • time of arrival onto the operation applying for 5‐Step® certification;
      • time of placement.

Another Program’s Standard

  • Poults must be placed under brooders without delay on arrival from the hatchery.

As you read through both of the above examples, ask yourself:

    • Is the wording clear and exact, or is it vague and general?
    • Which standard:
      • Has the fewest loopholes?
      • Is the most measurable? In other words, can it be easily and reliably verified by an auditor?
      • Would be interpreted in the same way by all auditors?
      • Would create the fewest misunderstandings?

While you’re here on our website, check out more examples of G.A.P.’s awesome standards, info on how to become G.A.P. certified, and follow G.A.P. on social media pages to learn more.

Let us know what you think. Comment below or tweet to us at @certifiedGAP on Twitter.