Whole Foods Market Expands Industry-Leading Animal Welfare Standards

Whole Foods Market has announced the addition of three new third-party animal welfare organizations to certify its quality standards for meat products. This expansion aims to enhance accountability and transparency in ensuring that animals are raised humanely, while also providing more suppliers access to the grocery chain. “Expanding the scope of our meat standards is just another step forward in providing high-quality choices for our customers,” said Wes Rose, Vice President of Perishables at Whole Foods Market.

The new third-party certifiers include A Greener World’s Certified Animal Welfare Approved, Humane Farm Animal Care’s Certified Humane Raised and Handled, and Regenerative Organic Alliance’s Regenerative Organic Certified. These programs will cover animals not previously included in the Global Animal Partnership’s Animal Welfare Certified program, such as bison, veal, venison, duck, goose, and quail. Additionally, the expanded certification will encompass frozen, smoked, cooked, and cured products sold in Whole Foods Market meat departments. A wider variety of certification programs will allow farmers and ranchers to choose the third-party certifier that best complements their farming system.

Whole Foods Market emphasized that every product in its meat department must already meet its stringent quality standards, which include no antibiotics ever, no animal byproducts in feed, no synthetic nitrates or nitrites, required animal welfare inspections at slaughter, and no use of crates, cages, or tethers. The grocer also mandates that no added hormones be used through feed, injections, implants, or any other method.