5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating
Your way of knowing how the animals were raised for the meat you are buying

Whether you’re looking for a great steak or you want to know the back-story for your roasting chicken, this third-party rating system works for you. All beef, chicken, pork and turkey in our fresh meat case is rated, and if it doesn’t meet Step 1, you won’t see it because we won’t sell it. 


How the Rating System Works

When you’re shopping our meat department, all products must follow our own basic animal welfare standards. In addition, you’ll see 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating signs and labels on fresh beef, pork, chicken and turkey. The ratings reflect successive levels of animal-centered practices. Step 1 is the first level and and it places strong standards around common agriculture practices. To achieve even that first step, farmers and ranchers must focus intently on the welfare of their animals and meet more than 100 animal-welfare standards. Each step above that requires more.

STEP 5+

Animal centered, entire life on same farm

STEP 5

Animal centered, no physical alterations

STEP 4

Pasture centered

STEP 3

Enhanced outdoor access

STEP 2

Enriched environment

STEP 1

No cages, no crates, no crowding

Whole Foods Market requires at least a Step-1 rating for Step-rated species

Global Animal Partnership

This nonprofit organization is dedicated to continually improving the lives of farm animals through their 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating system. The system not only gives you the knowledge to make informed food choices, it encourages and rewards farmers and ranchers to improve their welfare practices. For more detailed information and species-specific requirements for each step, visit the Global Animal Partnership website.