Yes, Niman Ranch uses commercial GMO feed.
I can't tell you how many times I have been told by restaurant servers, managers or chefs that Niman Ranch is "all natural, organic and/or pasture raised meat", not true! So much misinformation out there about Niman Ranch. Some Niman Ranch ranchers and farms use commercial GMO feed for the animals and they are not organic and not 100% pasture raised and they do not segregate the animals based on what animals are receiving GMO feed. I have confirmed this with Niman Ranch directly on two seperate occasions. I have a problem with this because they make it seem like this is not the case in their advertising and on their website. I find what they say on their website downright dishonest. I asked them why they state on their website that they try to avoid GMOs when in fact they do not, and they never responded to that question.
Here is what their website says:
Does Niman Ranch use genetically modified (GMO) feeds or animals?
Unfortunately, use of GMOs is now prevalent in the U.S., and cross-contamination of non-GMO fields due to wind drift from genetically modified crops does sometimes occur. Consequently, while we make every effort to keep GMO material out of our feeds, we cannot guarantee that our feeds are 100% free of GMOs.
Here is their response to my email asking them if they use any GMO feed:
Thank you for contacting Niman Ranch. Although many of our farmers and ranchers do not use GMO feed there are some of our farmers and ranchers that do use GMOs in the feed. We do not segregate the animals based on this before processing.
Niman Ranch Customer Service
Also, here is a facebook post where they admit to this as well.
The problem I have with this is that they make it sound like the only GMOs in their feed is from cross contamination, this is NOT true. There is a big difference between .05% cross contaimination of GMOs versus using straight up commerical GMO feed which is 90% to 100% pure GMO. They admit that some of their farmers are using straight up commercial GMO feed (which is almost pure GMO) and yet they advertise to consumers on their site that they only have GMOs because of "cross contamination." This is very deceptive to consumers. Yes, there is cross contaimination of GMOs in micro amounts even in organics, but using this as an excuse to just not even try and go ahead and use full on commercial GMO feed while at the same time advertising that they have GMOs only because of cross contamination is not accurate.
They also say they make every effort to keep GMO material out of their feed, NOT true. If they were making every effort, then they would require their ranchers to use organic feed or Non GMO feed, and/ or their animals would be 100% grassfed/ pasture raised and finished, that is what defines "making every effort," and there are a lot of meat ranchers doing just this, this is the only way to keep GMOs out of their feed. I don't trust this company or their advertising and won't eat their meat. I hope consumers put pressure on them to remove this deceptive info from their website and advertising. I have no problem with them using GMO feed if that is what they want to do, but I do have a problem with them advertising that they are not and only have micro amounts due to cross contamination, when this is just totally false.
I understand that they are running a business and need to make a profit and many farmers are in a position of being stuck using GMO feed when they would strongly prefer to not use it. There is no Non GMO feed anymore, feed is now either GMO or it's organic. Farmers are in a tough position because they need to raise their prices in order to not use GMOs and go organic, and customers want low prices. Customers need to be willing to pay higher prices to have the luxury of not eating GMOs and to demand that their restaurants and farmers take a stand on this and support them in raising prices. I empathize with farmers and restaurants who are struggling with this issue, at the same time, I do not appreciate being lied to and told that companies like Niman Ranch make all efforts to avoid GMOs when they do not. I also am frustrated when I go to a restaurant and am told the meat is Niman Ranch and it is organic, when it is far from it. This is just not right and I feel the need to speak up about it. I know there are a lot of people out there being told they are eating organic or pasture raised "sustainable" meat at restaurants when they in fact are not, so my intention is to help educate people.
Niman Ranch used to be all natural and grass fed when it was run by the original owner Bill Niman. It is now owned by Chicago's Natural Food Holdings LLC. Bill Niman has stated that he will no longer eat their products. Here is an article about this. Bill Niman is now the owner of BN Ranch and BN Ranch meat is truly sustainable, grass fed, and Non GMO.
Please email Niman Ranch customer service and let them know how you feel about GMOs and to encourage them to remove GMO feed from their products. Also let them know if you think they are being dishonest on their website by saying that they try to avoid GMOs, when in fact, they allow their farmers to use GMO commercial feed, this does not add up and is downright deceptive advertising in my opinion.
Please educate restaurants that serve Niman Ranch, most of them are innocently serving Niman Ranch products not knowing that they are fed GMOs. Click here for some suggested farms/ purveyors sources for truly organic, 100% pasture raised / grass finished raised Non GMO meat.