CORNUCOPIA, Wis., Aug. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cornucopia Institute, a prominent organic industry watchdog, has just released a comprehensive history and study of organic dairying, exposing how "factory farms," some milking as many as 15,000 cows in desert-like conditions in the Southwest, are defrauding consumers by depriving them of the documented nutritional superiority in pasture-based organic dairy production.
When commercialized in the 1980s, organic dairying was viewed by many farmers as opting out of a rapacious agricultural marketing system that had already driven the majority of dairy families off the land over the preceding two decades. Now, a quarter century later, history is repeating itself with giant factory farms flooding the organic dairy market with fraudulent "organic" milk and economically devastating family businesses and rural communities.
Cornucopia's report includes a companion organic dairy scorecard rating approximately 160 brands in terms of their authenticity and quality of production. "The good news," according to Mark A. Kastel, Codirector and Senior Farm Policy Analyst at Cornucopia, "is that for every type of product – fluid milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, and more – consumers can have full confidence in their organic dairy purchases by locating the most reputable brand on Cornucopia's organic brand scorecard."
True organic, pasture-based production contains milk with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and beneficial antioxidants. Testing, done as part of an investigative report in 2017 by The Washington Post, found milk from Aurora Organic Dairy, the industry's largest private label supplier to grocery chains like Costco, Safeway and Walmart, was nutritionally deficient compared to authentic organic family-scale production.
"Unlike the industrial dairies, true organic farmers concentrate on soil fertility and nutrient-superior milk production from fresh pasture, and end up with cows that live long and healthy lives in comparison to 'organic' industrial dairies that are so similar to the inhumane and ecologically damaging conventional factory farms consumers condemn," said Ed Maltby, a longtime industry observer and Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance.
"With the USDA's failure to protect ethical industry participants and consumers from outright fraud, using our organic dairy scorecard enables organic stakeholders to take the law into their own hands and support authentic organic farmers while simultaneously protecting their families' health," added Kastel.