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Applegate and Non-GMO Project Verification FAQ

Last Updated: Jul 13, 2016 03:45PM EDT

Applegate and Non-GMO Project Verification

Which Applegate products are non-GMO?
All of Applegate products are made without GMO ingredients and have been since June 2015. Now, we’ve announced our commitment to remove genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from our entire supply chain – from animal feed to finished product – and gain third-party certification. Part of that commitment includes the launch of our first-ever Non-GMO Project Verified products: Applegate Organics Chicken Nuggets and Applegate Organics Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets. The Non-GMO Project offers North America’s only independent verification for products made according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance. Applegate’s verified products are produced in compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard—that means ongoing testing of all major GMO risk ingredients, facility inspections and an annual audit to ensure products meet the highest possible standards for GMO avoidance.
Are all Applegate products certified non-GMO by a third party?
No they are not. Only the two new Applegate Organics Chicken Nugget products are verified by a third-party, but we are pursuing third-party certification for all of our products.
How do we know that products are truly non-GMO?
We don’t – and that’s why Applegate is seeking to have all products verified non-GMO across the entire supply chain by a third-party.When we removed GMO ingredients from all of our products, we required documentation and affidavits from all of our suppliers and processors. All of our organic products are made without GMOs because that’s part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s organic seal, but even organic products are not verified by a third-party for the presence of GMOs.
How will I know if the product I am purchasing is Non-GMO Project Verified?
Applegate products that are Non-GMO Project Verified will have the Non-GMO Project seal featured on packaging. You can also visit the Non-GMO Project for a full list of verified products.
Why are you removing GMOs?
We think it’s the right thing to do because there are too many unanswered questions about the effects GMO foods have on animals, people and the planet. A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences determined that GMO crops and plants were no different than non-GMO ones, but the scientists also agreed that more research was needed. We think it’s best to err on the side of caution.And no matter what, we have always believed in transparency in labeling because we all have the right to know what’s in our food and how it was made.

I thought all Applegate products were non-GMO. Does this mean Applegate products without a third-party verification contain GMOs?
All Applegate products are currently made without GMO ingredients, which our suppliers and processors have provided documentation and affidavits to confirm. However, we are now taking it a step further by committing to have a third-party verify that the meat used in our products came from animals fed a diet of non-GMO ingredients, such as non-GMO corn.
If you’re removing GMOs, are your products safe to eat?
Yes.  We stand behind the safety and quality of all our products. Applegate focuses on using simple and clean ingredients that avoid allergens so we can bring you food that you never have to worry about. When we decided to eliminate GMO ingredients from our products it was not out of concern for safety, but rather to enhance the trust with Applegate users who rely on us for quality products, made with quality ingredients. Now, we are building on that trust by committing to have all our products certified non-GMO by a third party.
When will Applegate be entirely non-GMO verified?
We can’t give a definitive date at this time primarily because the vast majority – more than 90 percent – of the animal feed in the United States comes from GMO crops like corn and soybeans. Sourcing and verifying non-GMO animal feed probably will be the most difficult task in this process.
Can you give an estimate on when you will be entirely non-GMO verified?
Any estimate we give would probably be obsolete in weeks because the animal agriculture industry is changing so rapidly.With many food companies making the move to non-GMO, we’re hoping and anticipating that those commitments will tip the scales and greatly increase the demand for non-GMO animal feed.
Which product lines will you tackle first?
Our organic product lines will be the first to be certified non-GMO by a third-party.As soon as more products are verified non-GMO across the supply chain, we will alert our consumers.
Will Applegate’s conversion to non-GMO verification increase costs on the products?
Applegate will be working closely with suppliers to find the most efficient way to bring non-GMO verified products to market at minimal costs. There will be added costs to verify our products, but we hope this extra step will give consumers added confidence that Applegate products are best-in-quality.
Will Applegate be complying with Vermont’s GMO labeling law?
Although all of Applegate’s products are made without GMO ingredients, we will not be changing our labels at this time. The USDA has not given us approval to label our products as “made without GMO ingredients,” since there are no standards currently set in place for animal products. With regulations on how we label foods constantly evolving, we will be monitoring the situation until we can make changes to our labels.
What does your parent company, Hormel Foods, think about this move? Did they try to stop you?
We can’t speak for Hormel Foods. Applegate is an independent, stand-alone subsidiary, and as such, Applegate senior leadership made the decision to pursue third-party certification on GMO avoidance across all Applegate products.
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