Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

 

192 Comments

Comments

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
Jennifer Oppenheim says ...
This is just great! Thanks Whole Foods.
02/17/2011 11:16:19 AM CST
Jen Niles says ...
This makes me so happy I have tears in my eyes!!! I am so glad I can shop with confidence knowing exactly how the animals were raised and cared for!!! Great job keep up the good work!!!!
02/17/2011 11:39:16 AM CST
Linda says ...
This is wonderful news and a very positive step in the right direction. Like many others, however, I am concerned about the slaughtering process, and I encourage you to implement a ratings system that incorporates information about this. Until I can be assured that the animals experience little or no pain or stress, I'll continue to eat vegetarian.
02/17/2011 12:45:30 PM CST
Trey Smith says ...
Very cool to see some metrics and standards applied to this industry, and make that info available and easily understood for consumers!
02/17/2011 1:45:43 PM CST
paig292 says ...
@Elizabeth While the Global Animal Partnership's 5-Step Program governs the way the birds are raised and transported, there are no 5-Step slaughter standards available currently. However, to make sure that birds are humanely slaughtered, Whole Foods Market has its own strict slaughter requirements. In order to be a Whole Foods Market approved facility, we require each slaughter plant to have an annual animal welfare audit based on the National Chicken Council Animal Welfare Guidelines and Poultry Slaughter Plant and Farm Audit: Critical Control Point for Bird Welfare written by Dr Temple Grandin. Audits are conducted by third party organizations and are designed to audit a series of critical control points to ensure good animal welfare and handling at each plant.
02/16/2011 6:35:25 PM CST
paig292 says ...
@Aleks Sorry for leaving that off this blog post! In addition to Step ratings, all meat sold at our stores must meet strict quality standards, which require that animals be raised on a vegetarian diet without being administered antibiotics or added growth hormones. (Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork, poultry, goat, veal and bison.)
02/16/2011 7:36:19 PM CST
paig292 says ...
@Dorothy Yes, the packaging will show Step 3 or Step 5 so you can choose accordingly.
02/16/2011 6:39:50 PM CST
paig292 says ...
@Esther In addition to Step ratings, all meat sold at our stores must meet strict quality standards, which require that animals be raised on a vegetarian diet without being administered antibiotics or added growth hormones. (Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork, poultry, goat, veal and bison.) When you go to your local store, you will see ALL of our chicken rated with a Step 1 to Step 5 and you can choose accordingly.
02/16/2011 5:20:51 PM CST
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
paig292 says ...
@Florence These are animal welfare standards. For concerns about them being fed GMO grain, you'll need to look for organic labeling in addition to their step rating.
02/16/2011 5:52:18 PM CST
Heidi S says ...
can you please make available a condensed, overview-type page (pdf) that can be used as reference and given to friends/family? nothing too complicated, just something with a brief synopsis of the 5 step animal rating system that can be kept in a purse/wallet and referred to when shopping?
02/17/2011 2:41:56 PM CST
Susan Hendricks says ...
Thank you Whole Foods! I am Vegetarian, but have a meat eating husband to feed, and I always struggled with the morality of buying factory farmed meat for my husband to eat, when it went against all my principles to financially support CAFO's and factory farms. I'll now be buying all my (husbands) meat at Whole Foods, and will willingly pay more for animals that are raised and slaughtered humanely.
02/17/2011 4:33:55 PM CST
LN says ...
This is FANTASTIC and something I've long been waiting for. Will there be a way to tell in-stores which farm the chicken came for? Specifically, for White Oak Pastures? I'd prefer to support the one farm that is upholding only the highest level with all of their chickens.
02/17/2011 6:38:26 PM CST
Ned says ...
Excellent! My moral questioning goes out the window when I smell and anticipate eating chicken fresh off the spit; the least I hope for is the chicken experienced a good (hopefully #5) life.
02/17/2011 6:51:57 PM CST
Julie says ...
....agree with Paul.....it is nice to rationalize in our own minds that 'wow, these animals lived decent lives....so I am now able to justify my 'need' to eat them for my own self satisfaction".....gee, I hope that one day thousands of years from now, if there is a species of greater intelligence than human beings that they don't decide that it is ok to eat a bbq human sandwich since the humans amazingly lived "decent lives" (in their own minds)......
02/17/2011 8:08:03 PM CST
paig292 says ...
@Rhonda 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.
02/18/2011 1:33:19 PM CST
Kelly says ...
AWESOME! I look forward to seeing this rating on layers/eggs. Otherwise I'll wait till the farmer's market is open again for my local humane eggs...
02/21/2011 1:29:23 PM CST
Judi says ...
Thank you so much! I asked (email) my local store (Duke St. - Old Town, Alexandria) about this a couple of weeks ago but didn't get an answer. Organic is good - but corn is not a natural grain for chickens; since most commercial chickens are corn-fed and I'm allergic to corn this is a problem. I'm very happy to see that you have an east coast provider (Shenandoah Valley Farms) at level 5 which gives me some assurance that I can have chicken without corn. Thank you again and again!!
02/21/2011 1:30:49 PM CST
Annalisa says ...
Thank you SO much for providing this information to your consumers. It is greatly appreciated.
02/21/2011 1:32:43 PM CST
Samirah says ...
I LOVE this step program. It's important to me to know that the meats I eat aren't a product of abuse. I've noticed, especially with eggs, the quality is better when the animal is happy. I'm happy to know that suppliers care enough to do the research and implementation for these environments!
02/21/2011 1:42:42 PM CST
Ami says ...
This is great. This will certainly help my selection of chicken and eggs at the store. I think this system is fantastic!
02/21/2011 1:46:38 PM CST

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