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 and chicken. 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.
Animal centered, entire life on same farm
Animal centered, no physical alterations
Enhanced outdoor access
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.
*Pork sold in our Northern California and Rocky Mountain regions may not currently meet the 5-Step® Animal Welfare rating requirement. Pork products continue to meet all other quality standards.