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Organic Meat: What Does Organic Really Mean?

Cow in a FieldWhile organic produce, and even organic dairy, often gets the glory, I thought it would be good to talk about what makes organic meat and poultry organic.

If you’ve been tempted to buy organic meat or poultry but you’re not sure what it means, read on! In order to be certified to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic standards farms and ranches must follow a strict set of guidelines. A third-party certifier inspects these farms and ranches annually to ensure the organic standards are met.

Here are a few of the key requirements for organic poultry, cattle and pigs:

  • Must be raised organically on certified organic land
  • Must be fed certified organic feed
  • No antibiotics or added growth hormones are allowed*
  • Must have outdoor access

*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork and poultry.

Chicken

The animals’ organic feed cannot contain animal by-products, antibiotics or genetically engineered grains and cannot be grown using persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

For details about the National Organic Program and access to the organic regulations, visit the USDA website.

In addition to offering organic options, all the chicken, beef and pork sold at Whole Foods Market® (whether organic or not) has also been certified to the Global Animal Partnerships’ 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating Program. This program rates how pigs, chickens, and cattle are raised for meat.

Next time you are in your local Whole Foods Market store, be sure to ask our butchers to point out our organic meat and poultry.

Have you tried organic meat? Why is it important to you?

Blog Updated on 2/19/2015.