Thursday, December 20, 2007
Got (Authentically Organic) Milk? Think Again.
There are a number of reasons why I switched my household over to exclusively organic dairy in the past year: the hormones (that cause cancer), the antibiotics (that cause cancer, bacterial resistance, and mutations in waterfauna and probably in us), the risk of strange things like Mad Cow, the horrible, horrible impact on the environment, the factory farming, the inhumane treatment of the animals....the list goes on and on and on, truly.
A bonus plus that I had not taken into account was that when I buy my organic dairy, I am, for the most part, supporting family farms and often, local farmers. I love that!
So you can well imagine my interest in discovering in my weekly Gourmet magazine e-news from Ruth Reichl, this little tidbit:
"The USDA claims that the Aurora Organic Dairy Corporation, one of the nation's largest producers of private-label organic milk, engaged in multiple, willful violations of federal organic law."
Now this is not wholly surprising. I mean, big companies...well, maybe I'm cynical, but this is what they do, right? But then I read this:
"The ensuing spate of class-action lawsuits has now extended to legal filings against retail partners such as Safeway, Costco, and Target. Raise a glass of eggnog to the folks at The Cornucopia Institute, without whose doggedness the USDA investigation might never have taken off."
I am now obsessed with the Cornucopia Institute (whose tagline is "Promoting Economic Justice for Family-Scale Farming") and their Organic Integrity Project. And what I am mostly obsessed with is their Dairy Report & Scorecard.
I was thrilled to find out that the local family farm dairy, Clover Stornetta, got a 4-cow rating. Moo-moo to that!
Now that I've read this, I am no longer willing to buy Trader Joe's organic milk. I am switching over to Clover Stornetta milk exclusively. Happy cows do live in California, in small numbers, on Clover farms. And I want their milk.
I was apalled at the rating that Horizons Organics, which is ubiquitous and is everywhere -- you know you've seen them in your store -- got a 0-cow rating. 0 cows! They SUCK!
I invite you to check out your dairy on their scorecard...it's fascinating! And very educational. And very enlightening. I feel so much more prepared to go into the grocery store.
Seriously: I know it's just milk, but a little milk adds up to a lot of cows adds up to a lot of impact on us, our kids, our families, our planet.
And hear hear for the Cornucopia Institute!
[Liked this post? Check out Part 2!]