Published on October 29th, 2008 | by Derek Markham5
Horizon, Aurora, and Woodstock Organic Milk get the Smackdown from Cornucopia
What’s the integrity of your organic milk?
The Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Dairy Products Scorecard pulls no punches in its ratings of organic milk producers.
Which brands are at the bottom?
The factory farms of Horizon, Aurora, Woodstock, Natural Prairie, and Shamrock.
The recently updated Organic Dairy Scorecard rates 107 organic dairy producers based on their answers to an in-depth survey asking about:
- the milk supply source (farmstead or open market)
- the amount of pasture time for the herd
- the use of hormones and antibiotics
- the health and longevity of the cows (cull rate)
- the source of replacement animals (organic or conventional farms)
- their organic farm certifier
“Consumers who pay premium prices for organic products do so believing that they are produced with a different kind of environmental ethic, a different kind of animal husbandry ethic, and social justice for family farmers. But not all organic dairy products are alike.” – Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst, Cornucopia Institute
In an exposé of factory farm dairy producers and the brands that threaten to take over the organic dairy industry, Cornucopia’s scorecard helps consumers all over the country to select foods best representing their values.
The top ratings for organic dairy producers with nationwide distribution go to these brands:
- Organic Valley Co-operative
- This Land Is Your Land
- 365 Organic (Whole Foods)
- Wild Oats
All of the bottom tier producers refused to answer the survey questions, and some of them run the biggest factory-farm feedlot dairies “masquerading as organic.”
Many of the lowest ratings went to “private label” organic brands supplying these stores:
- Trader Joe’s
- Fresh and Easy (TESCO)
Cornucopia Institute recently filed legal complaints seeking USDA enforcement action against Shamrock Farms and Rockview Farms, citing violations of organic livestock management rules.
“When Cornucopia staff visited Shamrock’s operation we found inadequate, overgrazed pasture adjacent to their milking facility, and we were told by Shamrock employees that the confined cows had not been out in weeks. Just like Shamrock, Rockview’s phony-baloney organic farm primarily confines their cattle in a massive feedlot milking both organic and conventional cows.” – Mark Kastel
So what’s the integrity of your organic milk?
Look it up on the Organic Dairy Ratings Scorecard.
What do you support when you buy your favorite brand of organic milk?
Ethical family farm producers with transparency in their operations, or factory farms with massive herds and sketchy practices?