How Organic is Organic Milk?

US - Sales of organic milk have seen a huge amount of growth recently, making up three percent of all U.S. milk sales and growing at a double-digit rate, but are consumers getting what they pay for?
calendar icon 14 May 2008
clock icon 1 minute read

With so much money at stake, a consumer watchdog group charges some dairies are bending the rules to get more of their product classified as organic.

According to a Consumer Affairs report, the Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture claiming that a California supplier to one of the nation's largest organic labels is skirting the law. Specifically, the group charges the diary confines most of its cows to a feedlot rather than allowing them fresh grass and access to pasture as the federal organic regulations require.

"We are asking the USDA, once again, to investigate serious alleged improprieties at dairies that produce Horizon organic milk," said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst with the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute.

Horizon is owned by Dean Foods, one of the nation's largest dairies.

Cornucopia has fought this battle before. Last September the group was successful in lobbying USDA to threaten action against Aurora Organic Dairy, a supplier of organic milk to a number of national chain stores.

The company made changes to its practices after USDA disclosed it had threatened to revoke Aurora's organic certification because the company had committed 14 "willful violations" of federal standards.

  • View the Consumer Affairs story by clicking here.
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