By Jan. 1, 2011, Whole Foods plans to implement an animal welfare rating program at all its stores, company co-founder John Mackey said in an interview.

“Signs will tell customers exactly how meat animals were raised,” said Mackey.  “We’re rolling out initiatives to help shoppers (and staff) make healthier, more educated choices about food.”

The proposal includes signs in stores that will detail how animals were raised.  The rating system goes along with Whole Foods transparency goals.  The grocery chain recently became the first retailer to have signs telling consumers where and how each species of seafood sold within its stores was raised.

Considered one of the nation’s organic and natural food grocery trendsetters, Whole Foods marks its 30th anniversary on Sept. 20.

“In human biology, 30 is your peak…we’re still youthful and idealistic, but more mature and wiser now,” Mackey said.

In addition to the animal welfare rating system, the company also plans to introduce a private-label line of vegan foods that are low in sugar and salt.  The new line will contain no animal fat, canola oil, or safflower oils.

  • Ann Quinn, consumer

    This will certainly help consumers make food choices at the point of purchase hopefully if done honestly. Every food retailer in the country should be letting consumers know about industrialized versus other methods of food production.

  • This is great. I have spent the summer researching local sources of humanely raised meat. While being local is nice, knowing how the animals are raised is most important to me. Glad to know Whole Foods will make that easier.

  • Ashley

    Are they going to include photos of the slaughterhouses the animals were killed inside next to their products too? That would seem to be more in line with their new “transparency goals”…Making the public think that meat is somehow humane is a farce in itself, just an oxymoronic marketing ploy.

  • Leila

    I’m glad to hear of more vegan products that they’ll offer. I’m neither glad nor surprised to hear that WF has yet another marketing ploy to make consumers feel better about exploiting and killing animals.

  • Sandra

    To be fully transparent they should include a full description of the transport and slaughtering process. Otherwise this is rather selective & feel-good. Was the animal treated humanely until the end, or wasn’t it?

  • Mac

    If you think that there is a “humane” way to raise and slaughter an animal then you should get a CAT scan. If you really cared about animals you simply wouldn’t eat them.

  • Carol

    At the very least they can make the animals comfortable before death as we do to humans before the end of the road.
    But remember that God created some animals to keep man alive but he never wanted us to treat those wonderful animals in a horribe way because when he was here the animals ran free.

  • Gwen Lebec

    Whole Foods has been stalling regarding animal welfare for years. They could have done this little bit a decade ago, but instead they neutered the humane movement by holding pretend welfare meetings with them for years. They could have required their suppliers to meet a higher standard. Instead,after 10 years of meetings they will now just tell the consumer what each producer is already doing. Wow. What commitment. What courage. What baloney.

  • Lynn

    It’s not enough to not eat meat, for me that’s about human decency to animals. I am so opposed to genetically modified foods and it’s so hard to find organic. I wish Whole Foods would come to central WV.

  • Kay

    humanely raised meat (for consumption) seems like a complete oxymoron. If an animal is being raised and slaughtered for consumption by man. It is exploitation plain and simple. There is nothing — nothing — even remotely humane about it.