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Whole Foods Expands Animal Welfare, Third-Party Certification Standards

Whole Foods Meat Department

Whole Foods Market said Friday that it will require that additional products meet its quality standards for meat. To support the expanded scope, the company is increasing the number of approved third-party animal welfare programs that certify products sold in its stores.

Implementing these measures will facilitate increased accountability and transparency for humanely-raised animals and allow more suppliers to be considered for Whole Foods shelves, said the grocer.

“We have a legacy at Whole Foods Market of selling products customers can trust through our quality standards,” said Wes Rose, VP of perishables at Whole Foods Market, in a statement. “Expanding the scope of our meat standards is just another step forward in providing high-quality choices for our customers.”

The newly approved third-party programs 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 are in addition to the Global Animal Partnership’s Animal Welfare Certified program, which is currently required for all beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, and goat products in the meat service case.

These expanded certifications will support the recent addition of species not previously covered under the animal welfare policy including bison, veal, venison, duck, goose, and quail. Additionally, all frozen, smoked, cooked, and cured products sold in the meat department must soon adhere to one of the third-party animal welfare programs for the meat ingredients in these products.

In 2026, in addition to the existing meat quality standards, customers can find the program logo or seal on product packaging, shelf strips, or scale tags for all products in the meat department to confirm that the product is animal welfare certified, said Whole Foods.