Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

How Can Meat Be Organic? We'll Tell You.
June 20, 2013

While organic produce, and even organic dairy, often gets the glory, I thought it would be good to talk about what makes organic meat and poultry organic.

If you’ve been tempted to buy organic meat or poultry but you’re not sure what it means, read on! In order to be certified to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic standards farms and ranches must follow a strict set of guidelines. A third-party certifier inspects these farms and ranches annually to ensure the organic standards are met.

Here are a few of the key requirements for organic poultry, cattle and pigs:

  • Must be raised organically on certified organic land
  • Must be fed certified organic feed
  • No antibiotics or added growth hormones are allowed*
  • Must have outdoor access

*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork and poultry.

The animals’ organic feed cannot contain animal by-products, antibiotics or genetically engineered grains and cannot be grown using persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

For details about the National Organic Program and access to the organic regulations, visit the USDA website.

In addition to offering organic options, all the chicken, turkey, beef and pork sold at Whole Foods Market® (whether organic or not) are from animals raised without the use of antibiotics and added growth hormones*.

They’ve also been certified to the Global Animal Partnerships’ 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating Program. This program rates how pigs, chickens, cattle and turkey are raised for meat.

Next time you are in your local Whole Foods Market store, be sure to ask our butchers to point out our organic meat and poultry.

Have you tried organic meat? Why is it important to you?

Blog Updated on 2/19/2015.




cancerian says ...

Killing animals is never easy. Some do it in sacrifice to the gods by burning the bones. In the old days you would slice the animals throat and drain out the blood. Now I assume alot of the blood stays inside the animal. Either way I got an organic ribeye steak from wholefoods today and it was very good, going back for more.
February 19, 2016

margie says ...

Not true. Most organic chickens are fed GMO feed, including soy and corn. Go to the source, the actual farm where they are raised and you will see. This does not exclude them from being labeled USDA organic. Low standards prevail. Ask questions. Know where your food comes from. The rules are vague and there are always loopholes so profits can continue to rule.
December 3, 2015

mdiamond says ...

I want to thank you for being a reliable source for organic foodstuffs, meat and produce. We would be a much healthier culture if more people ate organic. and, spiritually, we would be healthier if we raised our animals in a more humane way.
May 5, 2015

Teresa says ...

Are the chicken turkey fish eggs also orgsnic no hormones or antibiotics grass fed etc.. What about vegetables and fruits are they pesticide free etc
April 13, 2015

Nikki - Communi... says ...

@JANICE - All of the grass-fed beef we sell will be grass finished. Keep in mind that organic beef and grass-fed beef are not the same. Organic beef can be fed grain, as long as the feed is certified organic. You will want to look for organic grass-fed beef if you want grass finished and organic beef options.
December 22, 2014

janice campbell says ...

Hi There... I am curious about your organic beef...I have read that the real benefit of grass-fed beef is that it is also grass finished...Is your organic beef grass finished as well as grass-fed? 1 minute of grain finishing beef ruins the benefits of grass-fed beef. Am just trying to find a source that I can trust to be truly grass-fed from start to finish! Thanks....Janice Campbell
December 22, 2014

Anne-Marie Shealy says ...

I want a healthy family.
December 13, 2014

Christina says ...

"Organic" or not, they are all factory farm raised. If everyone knew what goes on in factory farms no one would eat meat.
March 29, 2014

roy + emma quinn says ...

we try to purchase organics whenever possible but wonder if once a year inspections are enough to keep the food producers honest. anyone know why a product called harris ranch is not on the organic list? they seam to produce very fine quality meats. thank you.
December 24, 2013

Mark Lulley says ...

I am a man that loves real pure whole foods. Organic is my name. I live on an Island in the Caribbean and strive to eat healthy. I am coming to Saco Maine for Christmas to visit my daughter. I will shop at your store. I have been there before. Love it. Love the concept and enjoy the products. Hope you have some great free range organic Turkeys for the Holiday.
October 30, 2013

Brionna Bowman says ...

A big issue with organic meat is the cost. People must realize that much smaller operations are raising grass fed cattle. This in turn makes it take longer for cows to reach slaughter weight. That means it cost more to feed them, so market prices are usually quite higher. I have researched, and there is not much of a difference in the overall meat between grain fed verse grass fed. Also every cow is grass fed for about the first 6 months of life if not longer. I believe whatever meat you choose will still benefit you. Just wanted to inform a little more about choosing what meat to eat.
October 28, 2013

Nikki - Communi... says ...

@PAT - While our exact products vary between stores, there are some locations that feature Beyond Meat as their vegan alternative to meat. Check with your local store specifically to see if they carry this!
October 7, 2013

Pat says ...

I read where you carry Beyond Meat. Is this true?
October 5, 2013

Nikki - Communi... says ...

@ROB - Yes. All of the meat, including all beef products, sold in our stores have no antibiotics or added hormones.
October 3, 2013

Rob says ...

Are all beef products sold in Whole Foods free from antibiotics and added growth hormones?
October 2, 2013

Nikki - Communi... says ...

@PERLA - It is very possible that organic chicken is fed soy. The requirement is that the soy must be certified organic. Check with your local store to find out if they carry any vendors that do not use soy feed.
September 30, 2013

Perla Manuel says ...

Are your chickens fed any grains that contain soy? I have extreme allergies to soy, soybean and noticed after I eat chicken my stomach gets very bloated. I am doing a process of elimination. Thank you.
September 27, 2013

Dawn says ...

@noelle - about the use of ammonia gas with ground meats - At Whole Foods Market, If you buy any plain ground meat which is ground fresh in the store every day, then you can be confident that it is not treated with anything in the grinding process. The meat is taken as it is received, trimmed if necessary of fat (and skin removed in the case of poultry), and then ground. Here's the meat, there's the grinder, in it goes, and voila! Ground meat! About as simple and straight forward as it gets!
September 18, 2013

Nikki - Communi... says ...

@MICHAEL - As a company we are decentralized so our buying is done at the regional level. Unfortunately we do not have a % company wide as to how many vendors are from North America. Each store should be able to let you know where their grass-fed beef comes from.
September 10, 2013

Michael says ...

What percentage of your grass fed beef is raised in North America?
September 9, 2013