"As consumers have become more interested in 'better for you' and 'all natural' products, there's been some marketplace confusion over what exactly constitutes a natural product," Farmland Foods said in a company statement. "To help clarify the issues, the USDA has developed the Never Ever 3 (NE3) standard, which ensures:
- No antibiotics used in feed, water or by injection from birth to slaughter.
- No growth promotants -- natural or synthetic hormones, estrus suppressants, beta agonists, etc. -- can be administered to the animal.
- No mammalian or avian by-products are allowed in the feed.
NE3 is a USDA Process Verified Program that uses the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 9000 series standards for documented quality management systems. This format evaluates program documentation to ensure consistent auditing practices and promotes international recognition of audit results.