Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

 

183 Comments

Comments

paig292 says ...
@Susan A number of step-rated producers are certified organic as well. You can look for organic labeling to address your feed concerns.
02/16/2011 7:52:59 PM CST
Shelly says ...
What about pastured poultry that are in 10 foot by 12 foot floor-less boxes which are moved to a new section of grass each morning. They are contained in a box of sorts (although one whole side and top is chicken wire or mesh, the other half is wood for protection from the elements), but this box moves every single day to new pastured grass, thus giving the birds new bugs to eat, new nutrients to eat, and fresh area for feces to be dropped. Would this type of chicken farming not even make level one because the chickens are loosely enclosed, even though they are receiving fresh pasture every day?
02/16/2011 7:53:56 PM CST
Kim says ...
Excellent! Most importantly the animals are now experiencing a quality of life that they should be assured. We have been driving extra distance and spending a lot of time to purchase pasture raised chicken and eggs. Very happy that Whole Foods is making this important step.I have also been happy to see more grass fed beef in your stores. We feel healthy animal fats (in moderation) are imperative to our diet and health.
02/16/2011 8:01:55 PM CST
ddeborah semine says ...
Thank you for detailing your step program. I also would like an answer to Elizabeth Hunter questions. How and where the animals are slaughtered are just as important as how and where they are raised.
02/16/2011 8:18:58 PM CST
Mindy says ...
I'm so glad to see this type of responsible farming. But why don't I see any level higher than a #2 for chickens in your stores?
02/16/2011 8:36:56 PM CST
paig292 says ...
@Mindy Most of the chicken sold at Whole Foods Market stores is rated at Step 2, which means the birds have enrichments in their housing so they have interesting things to do and places to hide. There are also farms with Step ratings of 3, 4 and 5, which are available in some regions, some stores, depending on where the farms are and how many birds they have produced. As the program unfolds, we hope to see more variety in the Step ratings available in all our meat cases and Step ratings moving higher and higher.
02/16/2011 8:37:58 PM CST
Pamela Kramer says ...
That all sounds wonderful. Question: are both males and females used for food chickens? Also, what about the slaughter procedure? How is that ensured to be humane? How are the chickens transported? I would like more information on that process. Thanks!
02/16/2011 8:45:40 PM CST
paig292 says ...
@Pamela Yes, both males and female chickens are raised for meat. Chickens are put in crates just prior to transport, and transport times have been developed to take the stress levels off the animals into consideration. For more details, please visit http://www.globalanimalpartnership.org/
02/16/2011 8:46:22 PM CST
Alisha Hanson-Glatzel says ...
Wow...this is amazing! I'm sure this was not an easy task to achieve. Bravo - for setting the bar to a higher level. I for one find this extremely helpful. It's hard to pay more per pound for something when you don't know what the difference is or why - so I usually end up going with the middle of the road pricing. This gives me a way to decide if I think it's worth pay $x.xx Thank you very much! I look forward to supporting the farms who make their jobs harder in order to provide a better life for the animals they raise for food.
02/16/2011 8:51:31 PM CST
Beth says ...
This is such wonderful news, and thank you for having this program in your stores! I agree, please add it to the eggs too!
02/16/2011 9:10:03 PM CST
Sandy Morgan says ...
Appreciate the work Whole Foods is doing to participate in the GAP rating. Look forward to knowing more about the farms who are certified on an ongoing basis. Will packaging represent those farms and their ratings? I would prefer to purchase from a farm that is certified as a 5 or better. Thanks. Sandy Morgan
02/16/2011 9:46:25 PM CST
Paul says ...
I have recently decided to partake of my own step #6 in being a true friend to our "feathered friends" and their furry farm-mates, and that is to not eat them. Nothing is more humane than that.
02/16/2011 9:58:00 PM CST
Jackie says ...
I would love to buy chicken from Whole Foods, but the highest rating at all of my local stores is only a 2! Hopefully a higher step is coming my way. Also, is there a step rating process for when the birds are slaughtered. There is no nice way to slaughter an animal, but many times this effects the meat and there are definitely more humane ways of doing it than most major processing plants do it. I think to truly care about animal welfare we need to care as much about how the animal is slaughtered as how it is raised and how it lived.
02/16/2011 10:15:15 PM CST
robin says ...
I think this is wonderful but you don't mention how they are killed. Is that done humanely also?
02/17/2011 12:15:07 AM CST
Judy Harris says ...
I appreciate this new system. I am striving to be able to purchase only good meats, and so many of meat products say they don't use hormones or antibiotics, yet you have no ideal what other stress factors the animals have endured. I like knowing the standards at each level, this helps me to choose the standard of quality meat I wish to purchase. I am looking forward to reading the other meat standards. Thank you for sharing and educating your customers.
02/17/2011 5:48:10 AM CST
Jennifer Stephenson says ...
Thanks so much! really informative - I love that you followed it up w/ the brands that have achieved this status.
02/17/2011 6:03:21 AM CST
Maureen Hanrahan says ...
What step level of chicken are you going to use in your prepared meals such as the cooked chickens, plus chicken salad in the prepared salads etc.
02/17/2011 7:13:21 AM CST
Stella says ...
I have already rejected some step 1 chicken for some step 2...and look forward to seeing those step numbers rise at my Whole Foods store. And I agree with other posters; let's see this program attached to the slaughtering process, and to egg production. I buy local, free range chickens during the "season" but in winter rely on Whole Foods birds...I am so grateful to have both outlets available to me. Animal welfare awareness, and programs such as this, reflect a paradigm shift in the American consciousness about our food sources...and isn't it about time?!
02/17/2011 7:39:18 AM CST
Lisa says ...
I am SO delighted to have this information! I am constantly trying to source my food ethically and I read labels carefully but the marketing terms make it very tricky to truly understand what they actually mean by "all natural". This rating system allows me to make educated choices and feel good about I am getting. I also agree about the rating for eggs...THANK YOU!!!
02/17/2011 8:13:59 AM CST
Diana says ...
This year, my husband and I will start raising chickens to sell in Virginia As small producers, we'll only have about 100 birds a month available, so we won't enter the Whole Foods market, but if we did, we'd get the level 5 rating. I am pleased to see so many of your customers concerned about slaughter practices. After processing pastured chickens on another small farm last season, my husband and I agreed that we wanted to take extra care to minimize the stress on the birds at slaughter, even if it will cost us a bit of efficiency. For us, that means having them "fast" only 18 hours before slaughter, trying to pick them up gently, not by their legs when possible, and allowing them to roam in a comfortable pen near to, out of sight from, the processing area until the last minute. It's great to see such great sales and prices on organic chicken at whole foods ($1.69/lb), but that has to be for level 1 or 2, right? We've run the numbers again and again for our venture, and we would lose money at that price!
02/17/2011 8:33:57 AM CST
Ann G says ...
I am so glad to see that animal welfare is important to Whole Foods. It is very important to me and it is why I shop at Whole Foods. What happened to the Vital Farms eggs at the Kentlands store? Are there any egg producers with this standard closer to home? I am willing to pay so that the chickens can have a better life and I can enjoy the eggs guilt free. Also, when will we get the step 3 and higher ratings?
02/17/2011 8:46:41 AM CST
Mary says ...
Excellent! Hurray for your commitment to decent standards for animals. We're proud to have your store in our neighborhood. Mary
02/17/2011 9:15:10 AM CST
Kimberley says ...
THIS IS WONDERFUL NEWS!! Thank you SO much, Whole Foods, for taking such meaningful steps to help consumers who care about the ethics of our food chain know they have a retail source for food raised right!! This is THE reason I have shopped at Whole Foods for many years, and I will always be your biggest fan due to this animal-welfare commitment you put into practice. With all my heart, I thank you. Kind regards, Kimberley Fonner (formerly of Redwood City, CA, now of Glendale, OH where I wish you would open a new store!).
02/17/2011 9:52:05 AM CST
Betsy says ...
Hi - I'm curious about Step 3. How big does the access to the outdoors need to be in order for the birds to choose to go outside? Is this a part of the criteria to acheive this level? Please add this rating to eggs as well. This research and certification is appreciated - thank you for initiating this next step in the quality and value that Whole Foods brings to my world. Yet another reason I choose to shop WF's and share the WF's lifestyle with family and friends.
02/17/2011 11:06:32 AM CST
paig292 says ...
@Betsy To achieve Step 3, there must be an outdoor area equivalent to at least 25% of the total occupied indoor floor area. For more specifics, visit http://www.globalanimalpartnership.org/
02/17/2011 11:07:00 AM CST

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