The president of Applegate, a natural and organic prepared meats company, has criticized the USDA for pushing back the effective date of a new, final rule establishing stricter animal welfare standards for organic livestock and poultry.

On May 11, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) announced the final rule – issued in January 2017 – will not go into effect until November 14. The rule document, posted on, says the six month delay is taking place to “allow time for further consideration by USDA.”

Applegate President Steve Lykken posted a blog on the Applegate website, carrying the headline “Tell the USDA to Stop Clucking Around on Animal Welfare.”


“The delays are disappointing because for years, consumers have been confused by what organic means when it comes to animal treatment, with many people mistakenly assuming the term ‘organic’ on a meat or poultry label includes some guidelines on animal care,” Lykken wrote. “As a company committed to high animal welfare standards, Applegate supported the rule last year, and will continue to support it now.”

Lykken, in the blog, also urged readers to submit a comment to the USDA in support of the rule “so that consumer expectations move much closer to reality.”

Applegate is a unit of Hormel Foods, which acquired the company in 2015.