WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION
May 22, 2006
Two of the largest organic dairy companies in the nation, Horizon Organic (a subsidiary of Dean Foods), a supplier to Wal-Mart and many health food stores; and Aurora Organic, a supplier of private brand name organic milk to Costco, Safeway, Giant, Wild Oats and others, are purchasing the majority of their milk from feedlot dairies where the cows have little or no access to pasture. Together, these corporations control up to 65% of the organic dairy market. A routine practice on these giant dairy feedlots, many with thousands of cows, is to continuously import calves from conventional farms, where animals have been weaned on blood, fed slaughterhouse waste and genetically engineered grains, and injected or dosed with antibiotics. Certifiers endorsing these factory farm organic products include QAI and the Colorado state department of agriculture.
Here’s How Organic Consumers Can Help Put a Stop to This
The USDA has posted revisions to the National Organic Program and is seeking public comment until June 12, 2006. A portion of the revisions relate to the issue of dairy produced on factory farms being labeled as “organic.” The National Organic Standards Board, which is made up of representatives of the organics industry, has proposed that organic dairy cows be required to spend at least 120 days each year on grass and that at least 30 percent of the cows’ feed must come from pasture during the grazing season.
For many organic dairy farmers, having grazing standards that can be enforced is essential to protect the industry from the large corporate players in the West with large herds that offer their cows only token access to grass. The organic dairy farmers warn that by leveraging economy of scale, these large dairies can lowball prices, thus putting the livelihood of the smaller family dairies along with the more modest-sized companies and cooperatives that market their milk at risk.
Please send a message to the National Organic Program of the USDA to stop the labeling of factory farm milk as “organic.” To do so, please click on the following link: