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Applegate Farms meat goes non-GMO despite Big Food buyout

Applegate Farms

(NaturalNews) When Hormel, the food company famous for its processed meat products like Spam, bought America's biggest natural and organic meat company, Applegate Farms, many health-conscious consumers were worried about the future direction of the brand. It turns out those worries were unfounded, however, as the brand has announced it is committed to removing all GMOs from its entire supply chain, from the finished product all the way down to animal feed.

It will also get third-party certification to put customers' minds at ease. Applegate Farms already removed GMO ingredients from its products last year, but this move takes the sentiment one step further. This is an ambitious endeavor, given the fact that the majority of the country's animal feed crops are genetically modified, with estimates showing that 88 percent of corn and 94 percent of soy in animal feed is genetically modified.

Applegate President Steve Lykken reminded consumers of his promise when Hormel took over that they would continue to break ground in the meat they offer, and this move is part of that effort.

Look for products with Non-GMO Project verification

The company is launching its first products that are Non-GMO Project Verified. These include their Applegate Organics Chicken Nuggets, as well as their gluten-free counterparts. The Non-GMO Project verification is the only one in North America to independently verify products that adhere to rigorous best practices for avoiding GMOs. It entails ongoing testing of all the ingredients that pose major GMO risks, in addition to annual audits and facility inspections.

Applegate is based in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and its products include frozen burgers, breaded chicken, deli meats and cheeses. Their products can be found in conventional supermarkets, as well as those that focus on organic foods like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Their food was already raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics, and comes from animals that are fed a vegetarian diet and treated humanely. Their products are also free of preservatives, artificial ingredients and added nitrates, phosphates and chemical nitrites.

Hormel bought Applegate Farms last year for around $775 million, in what was the firm's biggest acquisition ever. The move was aimed at helping the Big Food brand appeal to the increasing numbers of American consumers who prefer to buy meat products that come from hormone- and antibiotic-free animals.

Natural foods more than a passing trend

At the time, Hormel Chief Executive, Jeffrey Ettinger, said that he viewed the interest in organic and natural foods as a movement rather than just a fad.

As people become more and more disillusioned with many of the conventional food offerings, an increasing number of food companies and restaurants are serving up options to meet that demand, particularly when it comes to organic and GMO-free food.

There has also been a rise in people growing their own vegetables in order to avoid having to buy produce of uncertain origins from the local supermarket. While companies like Applegate Farms are going to great lengths to reassure consumers their foods don't contain GMOs, the only way to be certain your vegetables have never come into contact with pesticides is to grow them yourself. Many people who live in smaller spaces are making use of a vertical gardening breakthrough known as the Garden Tower to grow their own pure, clean organic food, for the ultimate in peace of mind.

As people continue to push for healthier and more natural food options, more manufacturers are likely to take notice and increase their offerings accordingly.

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