Food Security, Sustainability, Jan. 13, 2021, 5:39 p.m.

New meaningful food certifications that brings peace of mind

Author: riaan@wecanchange.co.za

Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) is a new food label that allows you to choose meat, milk and egg products that have been farmed with real sustainability credentials and conscientiousness.

After much success in America, this meaningful certification is taking off South Africa, a market that is increasingly seeing consumers demand ethically and sustainably produced food. In addition to Animal Welfare Approved, A Greener World offers these other labels to help consumers make informed choices: Certified Grassfed by AGW, Certified Non-GMO by AGW, Certified Organic by AGW and Certified Regenerative by AGW.

 

AGW certification helps you, the consumer, choose products that benefit your personal health, positively impact important environmental issues, like climate change, and improve the way animals farmed for food are raised. It also gives you the power to demand that products with an AGW certification are sold by the retailers you support. In this way consumers can urge retailers to get their suppliers accredited and, so doing, change the archaic and often cruel farming practices for more humane, sustainable alternatives.

 

Tozie Zokufa, Executive Director of A Greener World (AGW), says, “An AGW certification guarantees that animals have been raised outdoors on pasture or range, which has known benefits for our health and the environment. You can be confident that animals have received no added hormones or subtherapeutic antibiotics that could negatively affect your health. Our certification standards promote and guarantee responsible and sustainable farming practices that are better for the environment,” he says. 

 

“By buying AGW-certified animal products, you can be assured that the animal was raised with meaningful animal welfare standards, and without common industrial practices such as teeth-clipping, tail-docking, dehorning or beak-trimming. The AGW certification allows consumers to make ethical, healthier food choices and reward farmers who are adhering to responsible, sustainable farming practices,” he says.

 

“AGW promotes farming as close to nature as possible, something that is becoming increasingly relevant as consumers want to lessen the negative impact the food they eat has on nature. More and more consumers want to eat ethically produced food and are increasingly demanding products with the highest guarantee of sustainable, ethical farming. An AGW certification provides this,” says Zokufa. 

 

Ten South African farms have already signed up to A Greener World (AGW) certification. They include Glen Oakes Farm in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, Boschendal in Franschhoek, both in the Western Cape, as well as the farms supplying Langside Meats from Queenstown and Eddie’s Eggs in Sunday’s River in the Eastern Cape. Zokufa says, “These farms have excellent animal welfare and sustainability standards that we are pleased to help them demonstrate through their AGW certification. I hope more farms with similar values will apply for AGW certification, to entice customers to buy their sustainable produce.” 

 

A consumer report in America has acknowledged Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW as being the only ‘highly meaningful’ food label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access and sustainability. Another report names AWA as the only ‘excellent’ food label for animal welfare and verification. It is the only truly pasture-based welfare label, meaning no cages, barn confinement, crates or feedlots. Not even Certified Organic can offer this assurance. The Hartman Group, an industry leading research firm, found that AGW’s Animal Welfare Approved label has had the highest impact on American consumers purchasing of any food label. The AGW certification is backed by the ISO/IEC 17065 International Accreditation, which demonstrates excellence in auditing and certifying. AGW’s programmes are 100 percent transparent and independent with standards, policies and procedures all publicly available online.

 

Zokufa says, “As our certification has no financial incentive to us, AGW has an unrivalled level of independence when we audit farms and we only audit independent farms,” he says. Farmers don’t pay for accreditation, but they do cover the costs of the audit fee. “These are food labels that makes a real difference to the way animal products are farmed. It is not greenwashing,” says Zokufa, noting how some brands market products as more environmentally sustainable than they actually are, which can negatively impact consumer trust. 

 

AGW hopes to get more South African consumers, farmers and retailers who believe in what AGW offers onboard. “We are appealing to South African companies to invest in this trustworthy certification. It is especially relevant for corporates who are focused on climate change and climate resilience programmes through their Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives,” he says. Individuals can also donate to A Greener World to support this work at: https://agreenerworld.kindful.com/. “Many of our supporters sustain us with monthly donations. All funds received go towards promoting the programme to consumers and retailers and getting more farmers onboard,” says Zokufa.

 

AGW certification gives you real transparency in food production, from the farm to your plate. Insisting on AGW products promotes agricultural systems that have a positive impact on the environment, society and animals - farmed and wild. Demand AGW certification from your retailer and support independent farmers who are committed to animal welfare and sustainable livestock production.

 

AGW has various certifications, including:

·         Certified Grassfed by AGW:  The only grassfed label that guarantees animals were raised outdoors on a pasture for their entire lives, with 100 percent grass and foraged diet. These animals are raised according to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards, including when they are handled, transported and slaughtered.

·         Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW: Recognised by Consumer Reports in the States as the only meaningful label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access and sustainability.

·         Certified Non-GMO by AGW: Guarantees that the product is produced without the use of genetically modified feed, supplements or ingredients, and comes from animals raised according to the highest animal welfare standards using sustainable agriculture methods.

·         Certified Organic by AGW: AGW’s forthcoming certification offering transparent assurance of Organic production for meat, dairy, eggs, fruits and vegetables and other products.

·         Certified Regenerative by AGW: Measuring real change in partnership to benefit soil, water, air biodiversity, infrastructure, animal welfare and social responsibility.