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What does "naturally raised" mean at Whole Foods?

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What does "naturally raised" mean at Whole Foods?

MikeG | Mar 8, 2006 01:12 AM

(Only the forum moderators, and perhaps God, know where this post belongs, so I mentally flipped a coin and here it landed.)

I haven't gone so far as to call Whole Foods HQ (or an outsourced rep in India, whichever comes first) or talk to the clerks about it, but I've looked closely at their store signage and brochures as well as their website, and haven't been able to find any hard information to back up the "naturally raised" slogan they slap up all over their meat departments.

While I'm not anxious to consume antibiotics, growth hormones, or non-organically fed animals' meat, etc., I don't really care that much about that and won't pay much of a premium for it. On the other hand, I will pay more for animal products when I believe the animals are being treated better than the horrible norm in the industry.

So... does naturally raised mean something along the lines of free range, or at least "not crammed in together like sardines in squalid conditions"? Or is it just that they don't pump them quite so full of chemicals while they're crammed in awful conditions? Or is it basically just a feel-good marketing slogan intended to suggest to consumers whatever it is that they, the consumers, want to think it means? At this point, given their tight-lipped-ness about it, I'm pretty much assuming it's the last of those 3, but would be very pleased to be proved wrong. Anyone have a clue?

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