Whole Foods Responsibly Farmed: Seafood

Whole Foods Resp Farmed logo

The Whole Foods Responsibly Farmed label applies to the farmed seafood sold at Whole Foods Market. Whole Foods developed these standards with Monterey Bay Aquarium. The label requirements vary between different kinds of seafood, but they broadly ban antibiotics and feed ingredients derived from GMO crops, poultry or mammals (such as cattle or pigs) in feed.

While the verification is done by third-party certifiers and ensures that products meet the label’s requirements, there are many issues the label leaves out. Although the label bans some of the most destructive practices associated with salmon, shrimp and other farms, it still allows seafood to come from industrially scaled farms that degrade both farmland and the ocean.  The label also does not address worker welfare, which is a particular concern in imported seafood.

Requires Verification/Inspection

FoodPrint Label Criteria

Wild or Farmed


Animal Feed Quality

Prohibits direct use of pest controls in feed
Prohibits genetically modified feed
Prohibits animal byproduct in feed
Optimizes fish in/fish out ratio
If used, fish meal certified sustainable
Prohibits synthetic coloring agents

Drug Use

Antibiotics prohibited
Prohibits hormones and other drugs
Prohibits synthetic chemicals (pesticides, parasiticides and fungicides)

Environmental Health and Food Safety

Prohibits open net pens*
Requires pathogen testing
Requires contaminant testing (PCBs, mercury)

*Prohibits net pens only for sturgeon and related fish. Net pens are allowed for salmon and other species.

Fish and Ecosystem Welfare

Ensures optimal stocking densities
Prohibits purse seine nets
Restricts incidental bycatch
Minimizes disruption to ecosystem*

*Allows for ocean farming but has many restrictions


Tracking system in place for chain of custody
Tracking system in place for origin

Worker Welfare

Prohibits forced labor and human trafficking
Prohibits child labor
Fair/living wages ensured
Health protections

Explore Issues in Seafood