Animal Welfare

At Meijer, we strive to provide food that is fresh, safe and healthy to our customers. We believe in treating each other with dignity and respect and want these values to extend throughout our entire supply chain. Although we do not own or operate farms, we support animal well-being and expect our suppliers to adhere to the best industry standards and regulations of humane handling. We believe in the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, as outlined below, and sourcing responsibly, which guides our expectations of our suppliers.

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • Freedom to express normal behavior
  • Freedom from fear and distress

We continually work with our suppliers to evolve and improve our animal welfare practices and we commit to the following:

  • To support our customers’ desire to purchase higher welfare products, we commit to at least 50 percent of our fresh chicken brands achieving the following:
    • Provide chickens with enriched living environments, including litter and lighting.
    • Use maximum stocking density of 6.0 lbs./sq. foot and prohibit broiler cages.
    • Process chickens in a manner that utilizes a multi-step, controlled-atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun.
    • Demonstrate compliance with these requirements via third-party auditing.
  • We partner with suppliers that implement an integrated approach to training, monitoring and auditing systems that ensure the proper and humane care of cattle.
  • We work with processors that have direct supply relationships with cattle suppliers and transportation entities that are Beef Quality Assurance and Beef Quality Assurance Transportation certified.
  • Most cattle processed from our suppliers come from within 250 miles of our facilities. Less time in transit means less stress on the animals.
  • Our suppliers operate USDA federally-inspected facilities that have constant Food Safety Inspection Service supervision on all aspects of their processes, as well as frequent, unannounced internal and third-party audits.
  • Our suppliers utilize on-farm standards that all farmers are required to adhere to, including hog traceability, TQA certification, PQA Plus certification, PQA Plus site assessment and auditing programs.
  • We adhere to the following animal welfare guidelines beyond USDA requirements: North American Meat Institute, National Pork Board’s PQA Plus Program, Common Swine Industry Audit and TQA.
  • Meijer has partnered with the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) since 2012. The GAA Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification helps our farmed seafood suppliers achieve the best possible sustainable aquaculture standards. Since 2017, we have worked with the farmed fish suppliers of our Meijer brand seafood to achieve 4-star certification under the BAP program.
  • Meijer is committed to sourcing only sustainably caught Meijer brand canned tuna. 
  • We encourage all our wild caught seafood suppliers to become certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or a Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative-approved certification program. This ensures the seafood was fished from stocks with healthy populations with minimal impact on the marine environment in an area with responsible management.
  • We also look to source wild caught seafood from Fishery Improvement Projects – an international initiative that helps fisheries move towards sustainability and MSC certification.
  • We know that our customers have a lot of choices to make when it comes to what they feed themselves and their families, and some may desire products made without the use of bioengineering or GMOs. That’s why we offer a variety of products, including Certified Organic and non-GMO certified foods.
  • All Meijer brand and True Goodness milk come from producers participating in an industry-leading animal care program, which meets or exceeds the current FARM Animal Care standards, as well as auditing programs.
  • All Meijer brand and True Goodness eggs come from hens that are not raised in cages.
  • Meijer aims to transition all eggs on our shelves to cage-free by 2025.
  • Meijer and True Goodness brand eggs are supplied in accordance with the following conditions:
    • Care: Proper handling is a focus. Pullets and hens are monitored and vaccinated throughout their lives. Employees are trained to move and vaccinate birds, to ensure the best handling and treatment of the birds. Employees are given extensive safety and animal health and welfare training, including reviews of the welfare and health standards.
    • Handling: Veterinarians and numerous animal welfare supervisors ensure birds are healthy at every stage of their lives. Suppliers participate in multiple animal welfare audit programs. Hens that lay our organic eggs have outside access and do not receive any antibiotic treatment, and any supplements are administered under the direction of our staff veterinarians.
    • Nutrition: Third-party audits confirm standards for feed, water and environment are consistently met. Feed rations are changed to meet the birds’ needs. Industry-standard programs assure proper feeding, feed production and traceability of feed and feed ingredients.
    • Environmental: A cage-free environment allows birds to dust bathe and provides adequate space and an environment to exercise. Extensive biosecurity protocols protect our flocks from viruses, bacteria, parasites and more.  
  • No Meijer brand apparel contains animal fur.
  • We recognize that customers want various protein options for their families and will continue to offer customers an extensive assortment of plant-based proteins in all Meijer stores.

We also believe in transparency, which is why we recognize there are other areas of animal welfare not addressed in our current commitments. However, we are actively working on exploring them with our suppliers.

For other details regarding sustainable food at Meijer, our seafood practices and True Goodness brand, please visit our Better Products page.

For more information regarding some of our supplier’s stances on Animal Welfare, please review the following links:

Some of the photos on this page may have been captured prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore, may not depict proper social distancing and mask requirements.