Whole Foods Market® Shoppers Bring Home the Step-rated Bacon

Becker Lane Organic Farm now certified under the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system

May 26, 2011, 12:00 ET from Whole Foods Market

AUSTIN, Texas, May 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Made with pork from Becker Lane Organic Farm, a certified Step 3 farm under the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system, Applegate Organics Uncured Thick Cut Bacon is now available exclusively at Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) stores in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

Becker Lane Organic Farm raises traditional breeds of pigs on the fertile soils of Dyersville, Iowa, with a dedication to animal welfare since their founding in 1850. Their farm is now certified Step 3 under the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system, the signature program of the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership. In this system, 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).

"Whole Foods Market is fortunate to have true partnerships with suppliers like Becker Lane Organic Farm that are committed to providing the highest quality products while helping ensure and support better lives for farm animals," said Theo Weening, global meat buyer for Whole Foods Market. "With Applegate Organics Uncured Thick Cut Bacon made from Becker Lane Organic Farm's pork, our shoppers can now enjoy great-tasting bacon with peace of mind that the animals are raised with care."

Applegate Organics Uncured Thick Cut Bacon from Becker Lane's richly marbled and flavorful pork is available in 8-ounce packages in select Whole Foods Market stores. Like all meat sold at Whole Foods Market, the product meets the company's strict quality standards, which require that animals be raised on a vegetarian diet without being administered antibiotics or added growth hormones*.

All fresh beef, pork and chicken sold in U.S. Whole Foods Market stores is now certified to the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system. Whole Foods Market is the first retailer to adopt the rating system, which provides a way to engage and reward producers by promoting continuous improvement in farm animal welfare and gives shoppers a way to make more informed choices at the meat counter. Signs and stickers throughout Whole Foods Market meat departments identify these Step ratings.

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

Contact: Elizabeth.Smith@wholefoods.com 512.542.0380

SOURCE Whole Foods Market