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Animal Welfare and Our Meat Department

When you visit our meat counters, you get quality meats that meet our strict animal welfare standards. This dedication to animal welfare at farms and ranches and the level of transparency in our stores help you make informed choices about the meat you eat.


I’m increasingly aware about my purchases at the meat counter. As a mother of two little ones, I’m concerned with how the animal was raised and what added hormones or antibiotics it was given (or better yet, what it wasn’t given).Why buy meat from Whole Foods Market?

Whole Foods Market’s meat departments are stocked with only meat and poultry from farmers and ranchers dedicated to meeting strict standards, including:

  • no animal byproducts in the animal's feed

  • no added hormones*

  • no growth-enhancing drugs

  • no antibiotics, ever

*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork, poultry, goats, veal and bison.

These standards consider the animals:

  • how the animal was raised

  • what it ate

  • where it came from

Why animal welfare matters

5-Step Animal Welfare Rating

All the beef, chicken, pork and turkey in Whole Foods Market’s fresh meat cases in the US and Canada come from producers who have achieved certification to Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating.At Step 1, the first level in the program farmers and ranchers must focus intently on the welfare of their animals and meet approximately 100 species-specific standards. This first step is a clear departure from conventional animal agricultural practices. This certification is the clearest way for you to know how the animals were raised for the meat you’re buying.

It’s simple. Dedication to animal welfare at farms and ranches + quality standards and transparency in stores = informed choices about the meat you eat.

Want to know more? Dig deeper at

What’s important to you when shopping for meat and poultry?

Blog Updated on 2/19/2015.

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