Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Leading Animal Welfare Standards

I’m really excited to announce that we are providing shoppers with a new level of transparency about how farm animals are raised by now offering beef, pork and chicken certified under the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system. The rating system is the signature program of Global Animal Partnership, a nonprofit organization that facilitates and encourages continuous improvement in animal agriculture. Independent, third-party certifiers audit farms and rate animal welfare practices and conditions using a tiered system. We are proud to adopt this new rating system that helps shoppers make even more informed buying decisions.

More than 1,200 farms and ranches that supply our stores have received Step certification through independent, third-party certifiers. Color-coded signs and stickers throughout our meat departments identify these Step ratings. In addition to Step ratings, all meat sold at our stores must meet our strict quality standards, which require that animals be raised on a vegetarian diet without being administered antibiotics or added growth hormones*. It's really important to note that getting to Step 1 is a huge accomplishment in the industry! Step 1 requires more from our farmers and ranchers than we have ever asked before.

The Global Animal Partnership has developed Step ratings for pigs, chickens and cattle. Ratings for other species (turkeys, lamb, and others) are in development, so stay tuned. Look for this rating system the next time you stop by our meat department for beef, pork or chicken. 

For detailed information on each Step, and species-specific welfare information, visit the Global Animal Partnership website.

What do you think? Are you going to give Step-rated meat a try the next time you visit your local store? At Whole Foods Market, the more you know about our meat, the better.

Blog Updated on 2/20/2015.