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Organic Milk Producer Suspended

03 December 2009

US - One of the largest organic cattle producers in the country has been suspended for four years from selling organic dairy cows after failing to demonstrate that it was following federal organic standards.

Promiseland Livestock LLC, based in Falcon, Montana, 160 miles southwest of St. Louis, sells thousands of dairy cows to large dairies that produce organic milk, including the nation's largest, Horizon Organic, and others that produce private-label organic milk for several chains, including Target, Wal-Mart and Schnucks.

According to stltoday.com, Promiseland, which has primary operations in Missouri and Nebraska, and its owner, Anthony Zeman, repeatedly refused to provide access to records that would show compliance with organic rules.

"The law is very clear," said Mark Kastel, head of the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute, a watchdog group that filed complaints leading to the investigation. "You have to cough up the records and he refused."

The decision, issued by a federal administrative law judge in Washington last week, was applauded by organic advocates, who have long suspected that large-scale dairy operations are skirting federal organic rules.

It is the second suspension in the organic dairy industry since the rules governing organic foods took effect in 2002. In 2007, a 10,000-cow operation in California was suspended after regulators said it was violating organic rules, which require, among other things, that cows have access to pasture and a diet of grass and organic feed.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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