Consumers in the European Union are denouncing genetically modified foods and Danish Crown, a processing company, plans to capitalize on it. The Denmark processor is hoping to introduce the first GM-free pork to the market in a few months. The company has already started producing the specialty pork, and is discussing contracts with producers to supply it. The initial plan is to have a weekly production of 5,000 to 7,000 GM-free pigs.

The company plans to focus on the United Kingdom market where consumers are interested in GM-free meat products. Danish Crown is offering its current contract producers the option of a contract based on GM-free feeding. They also will pay producers a premium over the standard pork price to supplement the higher costs of using GM-free feed.

Meanwhile, a Canadian producer has earned the “free-farmed” label from the American Humane Assoication and Farm Animal Services. A production operation in Quebec, Canada– Breton Natural Pork of Notre-Dame-du-Lac– is the first to qualify for this label, which certifies that farm animals are raised in a humane manner.

The free-farmed label is designed to assure consumers that du Breton’s pork cuts came from animals treated according to American Humane Association’s animal welfare standards. Du Breton is the largest producer of all-natural, antibiotic-free pork in North America.

An independent Farm Animal Services inspector audits and certifies the production process. The standards include provisions that require pigs to be raised in a stress-reducing environment, have adequate shelter and comfortable resting areas, sufficient space, proper facilities and are able to exhibit normal behavior.

These are two unique and significant steps in the new world of targeting pork products to fit specific consumers’ demands. It raises the bar and the competition will only heat up.