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Organic milk

USDA to be sued for refusing to enforce laws covering organic milk

Wednesday, March 07, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: organic milk, the USDA, consumer fraud

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(NewsTarget) The Cornucopia Institute has informed the USDA of its intention to file a lawsuit accusing the agency of refusing to enforce federal organic dairy regulations. The lawsuit hinges on the USDA's failure to take actions in complaints against the companies Dean Foods and Aurora Dairy, which Cornucopia alleges are using prohibited factory-farming techniques.

Jump directly to: conventional view | alternative view | resources | bottom line

What you need to know - Conventional View

• The lawsuit alleges that the USDA has refused to act on a series of legal complaints filed by Cornucopia against Dean and Aurora over the last two years. Cornucopia charges that the companies are confining their cows to feedlots, whereas organic law requires that the animals be pastured.

• Other complaints against the USDA include that it has intentionally bypassed its own National Organic Standards Board, which has repeatedly recommended action against lawbreaking industrial dairies. All such recommendations have reportedly been rejected or ignored.

• As part of its legal complaint, Cornucopia claims that documents obtained from the USDA through freedom of information lawsuits show that the agency failed to pursue investigations into industrial dairy companies for political reasons.

• The USDA has objected that federal organic dairy standards are vague and unenforceable. This claim will be challenged in the lawsuit.

• Dean Foods is the owner of Horizon brand dairy products. Together, Dean and Aurora control up to 70 percent of the organic dairy market.

• Quote: "Organic consumers, when they pay premium prices, believe that they are supporting a different kind of environmental stewardship, are promoting humane animal husbandry and are creating economic justice for family farmers. When consumers find out that their milk has come from factory farms in desert states whose scale of operations endanger the livelihood of hard-working families, and the milk is then shipped all around the country, they feel betrayed." - David G. Cox, attorney for Cornucopia

What you need to know - Alternative View

Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

• The USDA conspires with the dairy industry to boost milk consumption (and, hence, dairy profits) by ignoring regulatory mandates while promoting massive milk consumption through the USDA My Pyramid nutritional guidelines.

• Similar to the FDA and drug companies, the USDA is no longer a functioning regulatory agency but rather a promotional branch office of agricultural and dairy industry interests.

• Much of the organic milk being sold today is an outright fraud. The "organic" claim is a marketing gimmick designed to fool consumers into paying more for the same feedlot-produced milk they've been drinking for years. The USDA seems to be intentionally ignoring federal law in its effort to whitewash the issue.

Resources you need to know

• Visit the Organic Consumers Association for more news on organic dairy products: www.OrganicConsumers.org

• The Cornucopia Institute's website: www.cornucopia.org

Bottom line

• The USDA is being sued for failing to enforce organics laws that prohibit the confinement of animals used in dairy production.
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