LOS ANGELES, CA (March 23, 2012) – The conventional meat industry’s long-kept secret is out and while meat lovers may be left green with the new information on pink slime, Whole Foods Market wants shoppers to know that it has always – and will always – only sell whole, all-natural meat and meat products. Recently former USDA scientist, Gerard Zirnstein, raised awareness on the use of “pink slime” — a ground beef additive made up of beef trimmings sprayed with ammonia gas to kill bacteria. While reports reveal that more than 70 percent of “supermarket ground beef” contains pink slime, Whole Foods Market distinguishes itself by only selling 100 percent meat products.

“With the recent exposure on ‘pink slime’ many shoppers are forsaking their favorite burger recipe because they are unsure of what’s in the meat they are purchasing at their local store,” said Mike Hacaga, regional meat coordinator, Whole Foods Market – Southern Pacific Region. “It’s important to Whole Foods Market that our shoppers know that when they purchase meat at our stores that they can be confident that our ground beef is free of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives – meaning there is never an ounce of pink slime allowed in any of our stores.”

All of Whole Foods Market’s ground beef – both fresh and frozen – must meet strict company Quality Standards, which requires that it is free of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Additionally, Whole Foods Market has strong partnerships with suppliers, meaning that the full history of ground beef in the store’s fresh meat cases can be traced back to where the animal was raised and slaughtered. This 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating system – a program launched last year by Whole Foods Market — lets shoppers know where the beef came from, how the animal was raised, and by what means it came to each store.

For more information on Whole Foods Market’s meat quality standards please visit wholefoodsmarket.com/meat.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For an interview with a Whole Foods Market spokesperson please contact Crystal Yamasaki at crystal@bennetgroup.com or (808) 753-7134.