BRIDGEWATER, N.J., May 18, 2017 (PRNewswire) — Applegate, the nation's leading natural and organic meat company, announced its disappointment in the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) further delay in enacting the final Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule, which was set to take effect earlier this month. The company also stated that it would submit public comment in support of the rule via the Federal Register and would be urging consumers and organic producers in the company's supply chain to do so as well.
"The USDA took a huge step forward last year by proposing a rule that would bring consumer expectations closer to reality by making animal welfare standards part of its requirements for organic certification," said Steve Lykken, Applegate president. "Now the department is again postponing the effective date of the rule, continuing to leave consumers confused and a growing organic industry at a disadvantage."
For years, consumers have been confused by what organic means when it comes to animal treatment, according to Lykken, adding that most people mistakenly expect the term "organic" on a meat or poultry label to include some guidelines on animal care.
The USDA has postponed the effective date of final Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule to November 14 and is seeking public comment again until June 9. Currently, the only animal care practices covered under the organic seal on meat and poultry are the prohibition of antibiotics and the required use of pesticide-free and organic animal feed. The USDA proposed rule addresses animal health care practices and living conditions, like establishing minimum space requirements for poultry and prohibiting physical alterations such as debeaking of chickens and routine tail docking of hogs.
"Enacting the final rule will be a benefit for both consumers and industry – it's time for USDA to stop dragging its feet," Lykken said. "Applegate sources from more than 279 organic livestock and poultry producers, and we think raising animals humanely should be an essential part of the definition for organic AND natural meat." Lykken added that the vast majority of Applegate's network farmers are certified by third parties for improved animal welfare standards, including Certified Humane® and Global Animal Partnership®.
Consumers can submit comments to by visiting the Organic Trade Association website, which offers sample statements of support and an easy-to-access Federal Register portal, www.ota.com/livestockpractices.
For nearly 30 years, Applegate has been producing high-quality natural and organic hot dogs, bacon, sausages, deli meats, cheese and frozen products. Natural can mean many things, but when Applegate says their products are natural, consumers are guaranteed that they are made without GMO ingredients and the meat inside is:
- From animals raised humanely without antibiotics, hormones or growth promotants
- From animals fed a vegetarian or 100% grass diet
- Free of added chemical nitrites, nitrates or phosphates
- Free of artificial ingredients or preservatives
Applegate became a stand-alone subsidiary of Hormel Foods in July 2015. For more information about our products, visit www.applegate.com or talk with us on www.facebook.com/applegate or twitter.com/Applegate.