Canadian supermarket chain adopts meat welfare labelling

18-08-2011 | | |

Whole Foods Market is providing Canadian shoppers with a new level of transparency about how farm animals are raised by now offering beef, pork and chicken certified under the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system.

The rating system is the signature program of Global Animal Partnership, a nonprofit organisation 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, cages or crowding) to Step 5+ (animals spend their entire lives on one farm). The system provides a way to engage a broad spectrum of producers who are committed to higher welfare for farm animals, and gives shoppers a way to make informed choices at the meat counter.

“In my 20 years of working with ranchers and farmers in Ontario and across Canada, this is the largest commitment to improving farm animal welfare that I have seen. Producers need to meet approximately 100 requirements to get a Step 1 certification, so achieving the first level is a remarkable accomplishment,” says Anne Malleau, global animal production and welfare coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “Whole Foods Market is able to adopt the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system thanks to the true partnerships we have with our producers who put just as much emphasis on the lives and welfare of their farm animals as they do on ensuring high-quality products.”

More than 1,540 farms and ranches across the US and Canada have received Step certification through independent, third-party certifiers. This includes the nearly 200 Canadian producers that provide the company’s Canadian stores with product. Colour-coded signs and stickers throughout Whole Foods Market meat departments identify these Step ratings.

Step-rated options are now available at all Canadian Whole Foods Market stores. The company launched the program in the US in February and it has had a similar step-rated program in the UK since 2007.

Source: Whole Market Foods