Simply Grazin’® brings Step 5 Beef to Whole Foods Market

New Jersey farm is first to achieve Global Animal Partnership’s top animal welfare rating for beef.

(NEW YORK– September 12, 2012) –Simply Grazin’ Organic Farm (Skillman, NJ) is the first beef supplier in the nation to achieve a Step 5 rating from Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating program. Consumers seeking high animal welfare standards and transparency at the meat counter can find Simply Grazin’s beef at Whole Foods Market stores from Kentucky to Maine.

Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating is a shopper’s way of knowing how the animals were raised for the meat they’re buying. The 5-Step certification assigns qualified farms and ranches a rating that ranges from Step 1 to Step 5+. To qualify for any Step rating, beginning at Step 1, beef operations must meet more than 120 standards, which define the animals’ environment, feeding parameters, handling practices, transportation conditions and distances and more.

Simply Grazin’ is the first beef producer to achieve a Step 5 rating, which recognizes excellent production practices that focus on the animal. For a Step 5 certification, cattle must stay with their mothers from birth until they’ve reached a weaning age of eight months, and must live continuously on pasture. Plus, Step 5-certified cattle are free from physical alterations, meaning no castration, no branding, and no disbudding (removal of undeveloped horn buds).

“Simply Grazin’ shares Whole Foods Market’s commitment to quality, value and service. Their operation is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals,” said Jim Zola, Whole Foods Market Northeast Region Senior Meat Coordinator. “We couldn’t be happier to be offering our customers beef that meets our high quality standards and comes from a farm with a top animal welfare rating.”

“It’s important for us to be able to expand our business while staying committed to our ideals of raising healthy animals in conditions that encourage natural behavior,” said Mark Faille of Simply Grazin’ Organic Farms. Mark and his wife, Lynne started with one family-owned and operated farm in 1998. Today, Simply Grazin’ Organic Farm has their original farm in New Jersey, plus two in Virginia and one in New York.

All of the beef, pork and chicken sold in Whole Foods Market’s meat department comes from farms and ranches that have achieved certification to the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program. Whole Foods Market’s quality standards for meat include no antibiotics – ever, no added hormones*, and no animal byproducts in feed. Finally, Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) is committed to maintaining strong partnerships with suppliers. Each store has meat that’s sourced locally, and butchers can both name the farms that supply their store and custom cut the meat they’re selling.

*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising pork, poultry, goat, veal and bison.