WASHINGTON, DC — April 17, 2003 — The National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) are announcing that the first group of auditors has been certified to conduct slaughter audits under their Animal Welfare Audit Program (AWAP). The group includes 11 individual auditors from various states. SES, Inc., the AWAP program administrator, has worked closely with the NCCR and FMI, as well as the NCCR-FMI Expert Advisors to develop audit tools and auditor training for the program.

These first auditors are a diverse and highly qualified group. Qualifications of the group include: two PhDs and eight Masters degrees. The minimum education of any of the certified auditors is a Bachelors degree in agriculture. The auditors averaged almost four years each working with slaughter plants and seven years each working in production agriculture. All eleven of these auditors will be eligible to submit bids on slaughter plant animal welfare audits.

NCCR and FMI will be holding additional auditor training classes the week of April 21, 2003 in Kansas City Missouri. Interested individuals should consult www.awaudit.org for further details.

NCCR and FMI also are announcing that slaughter plants can now request audits. Audits can be requested on line by registering at www.awaudit.org or by contacting the AWAP administrator at (800) 897-1163.

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conducts programs in research, education, industry relations and public affairs on behalf of its 2,300 member companies — food retailers and wholesalers — in the United States and around the world. FMI’s U.S. members operate approximately 26,000 retail food stores with a combined annual sales volume of $340 billion — three-quarters of all food retail store sales in the United States. FMI’s retail membership is composed of large multi-store chains, regional firms and independent supermarkets. Its international membership includes 200 companies from 60 countries.

The National Council of Chain Restaurants is a national trade association representing forty of the nation’s largest multi-unit, multi-state chain restaurant companies. These forty companies own and operate more than 50,000 restaurant facilities. Additionally, through franchise and licensing agreements, another 70,000 facilities are operated under their trademarks. In the aggregate, NCCR’s member companies and their franchisees employ more than 2.8 million Americans.

SES, Inc. (SES) is a private consulting firm that provides technical, policy, and program development and implementation support to its clients. SES has extensive experience in agricultural food production, program development and management, as well as auditing and inspections.