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Whole Foods launches animal welfare labelling program

Whole Foods Market Inc. is introducing an animal welfare labelling program to its six Canadian stores this week.

It is the first mass supermarket to adopt animal welfare standards for meat, says a Globe and Mail report.

All chicken, beef and pork products have colour-coded labels in different shades of orange, yellow or green.

The five-step rating system that indicates how the animal was reared, everything from the space allotted to animals to the amount of time they spend outdoors.

The program was rolled out in the U.S. earlier this year.

The chain doesn’t carry meat from vendors who do not at least qualify for the bottom rung of the program (no cages, crates or crowding).

Requirements vary by species, but level one in the program requires no use of antiobiotics, growth hormones and animal by-products in their feed or physically altering their livestock that is common practice in agriculture.

There is growing demand from consumers to know about farm conditions for animals with popularity of local food movements and farm to fork initiatives and in turn, animal welfare in the food system.

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