Whole Foods Market adopting animal welfare rating system


AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods Market is providing shoppers with a new level of transparency about how farm animals are raised by now offering beef, pork and chicken certified under 5-Step animal welfare rating system (bit.ly/fawOft).

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 that ranges from Step 1 (no crates, no cages, no crowding) to Step 5+ (animals spend their entire lives on one farm).

The system provides a way to engage and reward producers by promoting continuous improvement in farm animal welfare. For shoppers, the rating system provides a way to make more informed choices at the meat counter.


Step 1: no cages, no crates, no crowding; Step 2: enriched environment; Step 3: enhanced outdoor access; Step 4: pasture centered; Step 5: animal centered; no physical alterations; Step 5+: animal centered; entire life on the same farm.

More than 1,200 farms and ranches providing the company’s 291 U.S. locations with products have received Step certification through independent, third-party certifiers. Color-coded signs and stickers throughout Whole Foods Market meat departments identify these ratings.

Step-rated options are now available at all U.S. Whole Foods Market stores and by May 9, all beef, pork and chicken carried in the fresh and pre-packaged cases will be rated according to 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating standards. Additional species will be rated as Global Animal Partnership standards are completed.


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