Animal Welfare


SpartanNash takes animal welfare very seriously. We do not own or operate any farms or animal processing facilities, but we believe animals should and can be raised, handled, transported and processed in ways that ensure they are clean, safe and free from cruelty, abuse or neglect.

Animal welfare has been important to us for many years. In November 2015, we formalized our commitment in an Animal Welfare Policy.

We currently have four formalized animal welfare commitments:

  • Cage-free eggs: We will transition to cage-free eggs by 2025 or sooner based on available supply, affordability and consumer demand.
  • Milk with no artificial growth hormones: Our private brand (Spartan® and Our Family®) milk has no artificial growth hormones (rBST/rBGH).
  • Genetically modified seafood: We have no intention of ever selling any genetically modified seafood.
  • Polled genetics: We support the use of polled genetics breeding programs for dairy cows, which if successful will ultimately eliminate the need for dehorning.

What are cage-free eggs?
Cage-free eggs include eggs labeled cage free, certified organic, free range or pasture raised. Our Full CircleTM, Green Meadows and Pete and Gerry’s Organic eggs, as well as some of Eggland’s Best eggs, are cage free and available in select stores.

Why are artificial growth hormones used?
Some dairy farmers inject their cows with artificial growth hormones (rBST, rBGH) to boost milk production. The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the use of rBST and rBGH in 1993.

What are genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals whose DNA has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. These crops are genetically modified to help protect them from insects or viruses or to survive herbicide treatments. Other names for GMOs are genetically engineered (GE), biotechnology, or gene technology.

How do I know if the product I am buying has GMOs?
All seafood sold in our stores is free from genetic modification. All certified-organic and Non-GMO Project certified products are free from GMOs. More than 70 percent of the packaged foods in North America contain GMOs. The five most common GMO crops are sugar beets, soy, canola, cotton and corn (these crops are used to make ingredients for packaged foods). The five common GMO produce items that people eat whole are corn, Hawaiian papaya, edamame (soybeans), zucchini and yellow summer squash.

What is genetically modified seafood?
Genetically modified seafood takes DNA from an eel-like fish and combines it with salmon DNA to make the fish grow faster. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of a genetically modified salmon in the fall of 2015, but it will not be commercially available for a few years.

What are dairy dehorning and polled genetics?
Dehorning is the removal of horns from a dairy cow and is important for farmer and animal safety. Nearly all dairy cows are born with horns. Polled cows are cows that are naturally born without horns due to the use of polled genetics. We support the use of polled genetics breeding programs for dairy cows, which if successful will ultimately eliminate the need for dehorning.

If you have any questions about our animal welfare commitments, then please send an email to corporate.responsibility@spartannash.com.