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Demonstrating high on-farm standards through One Health Certified

A new programme administered by the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE), offers livestock producers a new way to demonstrate their on-farm health, welfare and sustainability standards.

10 February 2020, at 12:59pm

One Health CertifiedTM (OHC) is a comprehensive animal care programme that establishes verified animal production practices in five core areas: disease prevention, veterinary care, responsible antibiotic use, animal welfare, and environmental impacts.

Companies that align their on-farm procedures to meet the programme standards, and pass an audit administered by the US Department of Agriculture, qualify for certification and the right to label their retail and wholesale products with a logo that conveys responsible animal care practices have been followed and verified.

Participating in this USDA Process Verified Program provides an objective, third-party verification that producers fully comply with the guidelines of the programme. Through this process, participating companies will demonstrate their management commitment, transparency, and accountability to follow the responsible animal care practices outlined in the One Health CertifiedTM programme standards.

The ability to provide consumers with a traceable product from a transparent supply chain will be of huge benefit to producers in 2020 as consumers become increasingly interested in the origin of their favourite meat, dairy and egg products. We speak to Dr Kristen Obbink, Associate Director of NIAMRRE, about the OHC scheme and what benefits it offers to producers looking to showcase their responsible production methods.

What animal species do you certify?

While NIAMRRE administers the OHC programme, all auditing and certification for the programme is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Marketing Service (USDA-AMS). Currently, broilers and turkeys are the only commodities that can be certified through the OHC programme. The goal is to eventually have pork, beef, dairy, and eggs certified as well. The pork certification programme is in progress with a goal of completion by the end of 2020. The remaining proteins do not yet have a definitive timeline set.

What benefits can producers expect from being part of the One Health certification?

Consumers value a choice label that addresses concerns in how animals are raised and the OHC programme ensures that responsible animal care practices address more than one attribute to achieve optimal outcomes for animals, consumers, and the planet. By becoming certified through the OHC programme, producers will be able to provide products that align with customer values while following best animal care practices.

How does the pricing compare to other recognisable food standards in the US?

The price for producers to participate in the OHC programme is species-specific. The price of product sold with the One Health Certified label is determined by each company with the goal of selling a product that is affordably priced.

How does One Health Certified help producers to address the need for lower antibiotic use on farm?

The OHC programme places significant emphasis on biosecurity and robust animal health plans, focusing on maintaining health and preventing disease. Additionally, the OHC programme restricts the use of antibiotics critically important in human medicine while allowing for judicious use of antibiotics for treatment and control purposes as allowed by law.

How does One Health Certified address the demand for traceability and farm-to-fork transparency in the food chain?

The OHC programme is unique because it's an outcomes-based continuous improvement process not a generic standards certification. Participating producers will be required to provide documentation and data, giving more comprehensive insights to decision making and outcomes relative to on-farm husbandry practices, preventative health strategies and antibiotic therapy. This provides transparency to consumers and helps identify research needs and opportunities, with the ultimate goal of improving resources available to farmers to best manage their herds and reduce the need for antibiotic therapy.

Dr Obbink adds that feedback from consumer and industry stakeholder research has been positive overall. One producer is currently certified through the OHC programme and their products, labelled with the OHC trademark, will be on offer this month (February 2020).

More information about OHC can be found online.