Leprino Foods Company, one of the largest manufacturers of cheese and dairy food ingredients in the world, announced launch of a new Leprino Quality Animal Care (LQAC) Program, mandating that its dairy suppliers and farmers comply with animal care practices and education.

“In our business, it’s all about high-quality milk. We know that healthy, comfortable cows that are well-fed, maintained and cared for will always be the best and most productive source of high-quality milk,” Mike Reidy, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Leprino Foods, said. “It’s our intent with this policy to be a positive force and industry leader in promoting animal health and wellness, including rigorous animal care standards and audit requirements,” he said.

Leprino Foods partnered with its milk suppliers, influential dairy farmers, industry leaders and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to create the program. The LQAC Program works in combination with existing global dairy industry programs such as the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program in the U.S. and the Red Tractor Program in Europe. It includes:

• A third-party auditing system to verify compliance to Leprino Foods’ global standards at the farm level.

• On-farm evaluations and herd health assessments by independent third parties.

• Annual farm employee education and training programs, including a signed Code of Ethics by each employee upon completion.

• Developing an oversight committee responsible for investigating instances where animal care standards do not meet LQAC Program expectations.

• Creating an independent advisory council to help guide Leprino Foods in policy development and best practice adoption.

Leprino Foods has always had a zero tolerance policy for the willful mistreatment of animals and will continue to work with its dairy suppliers and farmers to lead in this area.

“We believe in the dairy farmers who supply our milk and we are as committed as they are in making sure that the animals they care for are well-treated. It’s not only good business, it’s consistent with our core values and we expect nothing less of our supply chain,” Reidy added.