One of the nation’s largest grocery store chains — The Kroger Co. — has endorsed the Food Marketing Institute’s new program addressing animal welfare.

Under the new program, the Food Marketing Institute is working cooperatively with producers, processors and independent animal welfare experts to promote “best practices” that will ensure animals are treated humanely at every step in the production process.

In a press release issued April 18, FMI listed several components of the program. One of these states that FMI will distribute a set of animal welfare expectations “as voluntary recommendations for retail companies to adopt and use in their discussions with current and future suppliers.” That means that anyone supplying to Kroger — up and down the food chain — may have to follow the recommended animal husbandry practices.

Kroger joins a growing list of food companies, including McDonald’s and Burger King, that plan to ask suppliers to abide by animal welfare guidelines.