Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

 

194 Comments

Comments

Pamela Graham says ...
My first one-word response to this: touching. As in, touched my heart. This is the natural order of things, the way our great-parents knew and expected it to be. I've owned and loved birds before and this is the environment they understand and thrive in. I will come to Whole Foods for these birds. Thank you for making this simple to understand. Please keep informing us.
02/16/2011 6:31:43 PM CST
Elizabeth Hunter says ...
So far, so good. I am glad to see attention being given to the quality of life of all creatures. What about what happens AFTER all this -- when they have a trip of up to 8 hours, in cages for the first time, to go to slaughter? Does this cause a lot of stress chemicals to be released, which are passed on to us? I have heard of small farmers who kill the birds on their premises, is that a future goal for Whole Foods? I like knowing how our food is raised & I am impressed to see the 5-Step Animal Welfare program in your stores. I also like the ANDI program for produce; it's direct and helps customers choose higher-nutrient foods easily. I hope this kind of thinking is encouraged from management on down to every store employee. It creates an atmosphere of thoughtfulness and fosters curiosity about things we have taken for granted for decades. Thank you!
02/16/2011 6:34:03 PM CST
Denelle Swaim says ...
This is so exciting! Thanks for the details on the program, but PLEASE start selling chicken Step 3 and higher to your stores! (Step 2 is the highest available at my store). You might want to add Step numbers to the eggs while you're at it! :) Either way, it's a "step" in the right direction. Thanks WF!!!
02/16/2011 6:37:20 PM CST
Dorothy says ...
I notice that Petaluma Poultry offers chickens in both the Step 3 and Step 5 ranges. How will I know the difference, is it noted somehow in the packaging? Also, I really like this new program, I also appreciate, very much your participation in the 'responsible seafood watch program. Thanks
02/16/2011 6:38:33 PM CST
Sabina Mazac says ...
Thanks for the great info! I was a little confused about step 5 though. On the webpage below it said the following about step 5: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/meat/welfare.php?utm_source=Responsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2011_02_16_Specials step 5: Animal centered; all physical alterations prohibited "Animals get to live their whole lives with all the body parts they were born with." However, that wasn't mentioned in the article above. Furthermore, it would be helpful to provide more of an explanation on the FAQ page about the body parts thing because I doubt most people are aware of what body parts are removed and why. Thanks so much for doing an awesome job of increasing our food standards!
02/16/2011 6:51:37 PM CST
Betty Gibson says ...
This is the same way my Grandmother raised her chickens in the early 1930's & 40's and I'm sure she did the same way before I was born! There was a chicken house and a chicken yard. The only time anyone went into the yard was to feed the chickens and gather the eggs. Those were things I could do for her when I went to visit.
02/16/2011 7:01:42 PM CST
Anna Skibinsky says ...
I think this is a great idea. A manager at Whole Foods mentioned that WF would be starting a "cruelty rating" for all types of meat products. I fully support this and would be willing to pay more for higher quality, cruelty free meat, fish or seafood. Anna Skibinsky Washington, DC
02/16/2011 7:22:04 PM CST
aleks says ...
Are chickens 1-5 all given natural feed? It's good that they are not given animal by products, but does their feed contain preservatives and other additives?
02/16/2011 7:37:10 PM CST
Heather Thurston says ...
This is AWESOME!!! Thank you for being the revolutionaries in this field. I hope that this will make consumers more aware of where their meat is coming from!!
02/16/2011 7:51:48 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
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
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
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

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