From Saturday pool parties to easy weekday dinners, summer grilling season is kicking into high gear. If you’re concerned about antibiotic use, added growth hormones, animal byproducts in feed or animal welfare, then choosing meat from our stores means you’re getting meat from animals raised to strict standards that address all of those concerns.
The starting point is our Meat Quality Standards. Every cut of fresh meat in our case comes from animals raised to meet our standards:
No antibiotics, ever
No added growth hormones*
No animal byproducts in feed
Beta agonists, drugs used to enhance growth, are prohibited
Animal welfare standards for all species, including ensuring animals have enough space to perform their normal behaviors and prohibiting tethering or confinement that prevents freedom of movement
Third-party audits for animal welfare at slaughter plants
Third-party audits for food safety at slaughter and processing plants
*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pigs, poultry, goats, veal calves and bison.
Want to go further? We have additional species-specific animal-welfare standards and offer organic, grass-fed, local and more.
The beef, pork, chicken and turkey in our meat departments comes from farms and ranches that have been 3rd party-audited and achieved certification to the 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating program opens in a new tab.
At Step 1, farmers must focus intently on the welfare of the animals and meet 100+ species-specific standards. Each successive Step requires more animal-centered practices. If you’d like to know more, you can read the detailed criteria for each of these steps opens in a new tab.
We’ve been passionate about animal welfare for quite some time, leading to our work since 2002 with world-renowned scientist and animal-welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin to ensure animal welfare with slaughter standards opens in a new tab. Our partnership with her well as with a multitude of other notable animal welfare scientists has continued through all our animal welfare programs.
Organic and Non-GMO
GMOs are prevalent in the commodity grain market — 94% of soy and 88% of corn crops — so there’s a limited availability of verified non-GMO feed at this time. Some of our local and regional suppliers are in the process of becoming Non-GMO Project Verified opens in a new tab.
Certified organic meat is also an excellent choice. U.S. National Organic Standards require the animals were not fed genetically engineered crops like soy, corn or alfalfa. Simply put: An organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn.
If GMOs are a concern, choose organic or Non-GMO Project Verified items.
Grass-Fed and Pasture-Raised
We partner with ranchers who raise 100% grass-fed or pastured livestock. A Step 4 Rating ensures high-quality beef from animals that are never fattened in a feedlot.
Interested in local meats? We seek out local partnerships with like-minded farmers and ranchers. In fact, we partner with more than 1,000 local US beef ranches. Look for signs identifying local options in the meat case or ask a team member.
Originally published May 2014. Updated May 2015. Updated June 2015.