Quality Standards

Since 1980 our Quality Standards have defined us as leaders of the natural and organic industry. Our supplier partners have always been an essential part of our mission to evolve and advance what we do on behalf of our many stakeholders.

On this page you will find the following resources to help ensure products sold in our stores meet our rigorous standards:

  • Unacceptable/Acceptable Ingredients for food, body care, supplements and household cleaning products.
  • Sourcing Standards
  • Non-GMO Claims Policy
  • Caffeine Labeling Standard

Note that not all Whole Foods Market standards or policies are posted on this site. If you have questions, please direct them to your primary Whole Foods Market contact.

For a brief, but not inclusive, overview of our standards please visit our public website. Note that ingredient lists published there are meant to be a reference for our customers and should not be used in formulating products.

 

Ingredient Quality Standards

Products sold at Whole Foods Market must comply with our standards for acceptable and unacceptable ingredients for each of the following categories. All products sold on shelf may only contain ingredients we have specifically deemed “acceptable” in the product category.

If you have questions about which category list applies to your product, please contact your primary Whole Foods Market contact. They can also sponsor reviews of ingredients not included on our lists.

Please note:

  • Nothing in these documents alters a supplier’s responsibility for ensuring that the products they sell to Whole Foods Market comply with all applicable laws.
  • Ingredient lists are updated on a quarterly basis and posted here for your convenience.
  • Please check the most recent list for your category whenever submitting product for consideration, whether it is a new product or reformulation of a product already on shelf.

SOURCING STANDARDS

Additionally, we have Quality Standards that apply to production methods, farming and ranching practices and sourcing for specific product categories. If you have questions, please direct them to your primary Whole Foods Market contact.

Eggs

Animal Welfare Standards for Laying Hens

All eggs in our U.S. dairy cases must go beyond cage-free and meet our animal welfare standards.

 

Seafood

Wild-Caught Seafood Standards

All wild caught seafood we sell in our Seafood department must be either Marine Stewardship Council certified for sustainable fishing or rated “Green” or “Yellow” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Canned Tuna Sourcing Policy

Our Canned Tuna Sourcing Policy applies to all canned tuna on our grocery shelves and used in our prepared foods kitchens.

Lobster Standards 

 

Aquaculture Standards

All farm-raised seafood in our Seafood department must be Responsibly Farmed, meeting our third party-verified Responsibly Farmed aquaculture standards.

Responsibly Farmed Finfish and Shrimp Standards 

Responsibly Farmed Mollusks Standards

 

Meat

Our Meat Department sources only from animals raised to animal welfare standards with no antibiotics ever and no added hormones*.

Additionally, All fresh beef, pork, chicken, turkey and lamb are Animal Welfare Certified by Global Animal Partnership.

*There are no hormones approved for use in the production of poultry, goat, veal calves, mature sheep or exotic, non-amenable species (such as bison, buffalo, elk and venison).

 

Organic Retail Certification

Whole Foods Market is the first and only certified organic national grocery store. That means when you sell us your high-quality organic products, we do our part to maintain the organic integrity of this product from warehouse to shelf. Learn more on our public website.

 

Organic Personal Care Claims

Personal care products making an organic claim on the front label must be third-party certified to one of the following certification standards to make a front-label organic claim:

Whole Foods Market Non-GMO Claims Policy

Whole Foods Market Non-GMO Claims Policy June 2021

Non-GMO Claims Supplier FAQ Jun 22 2021

Additional Product Claim Requirements

Products Containing Added Caffeine