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What Is the Difference Between Organic and Natural/Antibiotic-Free?

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2019 11:21AM EDT
Organic products, including animal feeds, are produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering or other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Animals are required to have a minimum of 120 days/year with outdoor access, weather permitting. All organic products are inherently non-GMO and we are in the process of getting them all certified by Non-GMO Project Verified. All of our ingredients are Non-GMO Project Verified.  In our Natural program, animals are grown naturally, with no added growth promotants of any kind, no antibiotics or added hormones, and certified humanely raised. If animals become ill, they are appropriately treated and the meat is segregated out of the Applegate supply. Animal feeds are frequently are sourced from crops that have been genetically modified, and we are transitioning to non-GMO animal feeds in the future for our natural product lines.  You can read more about the reason for this at

Whether you buy our Natural or Organic lines, you can be assured that there’s no GMO or artificial ingredients, or chemical nitrates. At the farms, we don’t use antibiotics or growth hormones. In addition, ALL of our farms employ humane husbandry practices that are verified by a third-party. Finally, all of our animals are fed a diet of 100% vegetarian feed.

Just a little insight into labeling organic and natural: In order for a product to carry the organic label, the production process must also be certified from start to finish through a yearly audit. This ensures that all of the criteria of the USDA Organic Standards are met.

For USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) labeling approval the term “Natural” is defined as minimally processed, no artificial ingredients. 

Applegate meets the USDA FSIS requirements, and takes the “Natural” definition to a higher level by producing products without antibiotics or hormones, GMO ingredients, chemical preservatives or added nitrites, and by employing humane animal husbandry practices. Our animal raising claims are approved by the USDA FSIS.
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