Applegate Farms, the US natural and organic meat subsidiary of Hormel Foods, has pledged to remove genetically modified organisms (GMO) from its entire supply chain.

Last summer that New-Jersey based Applegate removed all GMO ingredients from its products. However, this latest move affects the whole supply chain, and ensures that GMO’s are removed from animal feed through to the finished product.

The announcement comes as Applegate launches its first non-GMO Project Verified Products, Applegate Organics Chicken Nuggets and Applegate Organics Gluten-free Chicken Nuggets. The Non-GMO project is America’s only independent verification system for products made according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance.

This is a significant step, the company said, as the vast majority of animal feed crops in the US are genetically modified, with 88% of corn and 94% of soy affected.

“It’s very significant that today Applegate is promising to go even further on our quest for transparency and traceability in removing GMOs from our entire supply chain, including the most problematic part – animal feed,” said Applegate’s president Steve Lykken.

“Exactly a year ago today, Applegate became a stand-alone subsidiary of Hormel Foods with the promise that we would continue to lead in changing the meat we eat, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

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“The Applegate brand was built on a foundation of trust with consumers,” Lykken said. “By pursuing third-party certification on GMO avoidance for all of our products, we’re adding another layer of credibility and providing consumers the information they need to confidently make the best choices for themselves and their families.”