Whole Foods adopts new system that rates how the meat was treated

Categories: News
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Courtesy of Whole Foods
Green Step 4 beef.
Adopting the meat rating principles set forth by the Global Animal Partnership, Whole Foods rolled out a program this month that lets shoppers know how the animals that became their beef, chicken, and pork products were treated during their lives. The new Five-Step Animal Welfare Rating system uses certified third-party auditors to evaluate farms and meat products regarding the health, treatment, housing, transport, slaughter, and processing of the animals before they hit the Whole Foods stores.

The ratings will be displayed in colored and numbered labels on signs and packaged fresh meats in the case. Here's the basic chart, in which the ratings range from the unacceptable Red to the Green Step 5+, and what the labels mean.

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Courtesy of Whole Foods
Basic meat rating system
The most humanely treated meats get a rating of Green Step 5+, which means the animals spent their entire lives on one farm, among many other requirements. The lowest rating is a red sticker, which won't be on anything at Whole Foods. The company requires that meats rank at an Orange Step 1 rating or higher, which means that there were no cages, no crates, and no crowding in the animals' upbringing. The colors and numbers are on the chart on the right, as created by Global Animal Partnership.

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