Friday, October 26, 2007
Horizon Milk being sued
It's sort of pathetic that I work where I do and it took a customer to bring this to my attention. We get a lot of ranting weirdos in there (my favorite so far is the customer that tried to convince me last fall that the spinach recall was a conspiracy by the government to get people to stop eating organic produce), so I kind of blew the lady off when she wanted to speak to someone to find out "why you're still selling Horizon products!"
Since I was at the information desk, I had internet access, so I started digging around, investigating the ladie's accusations. Turns out, it's true. Aurora Dairy Corporation, which provides Horizon with its milk, is being hit with allegations of "fraud, negligence, and unjust enrichment concerning the sale of organic milk by the company."
Independent investigators at the USDA concluded earlier this year that Aurora--with five dairy facilities in Colorado and Texas, each milking thousands of cows--had 14 "willful" organic violations. One of the most egregious findings was that from December 5, 2003, to April 16, 2007, the Aurora "labeled and represented milk as organically produced, when such milk was not produced and handled in accordance with the National Organic Program regulations."
They have also been accused of exploiting and jeopardizing the livelihood of small family farms by taking advantage of the premium prices consumers are willing to pay for organic prices, while not actually offering organic products.
I've always heard that if you don't buy anything else organic, you should buy your milk organic, because the dairy industry is one of the dirtiest and most insidious. You can get ratings on all kinds of companies at the Cornucopia Institute, which also has a link to another article about Horizon, and gives them the lowest rating possible. I really enjoy Organic Valley, because they're a co-op, and everything is grown locally (how fucking stupid is it to grow organic milk in Colorado or Texas and ship it to Maine or Washington?? For instance.) However, their products also always seem to go bad a good 2 or 3 days before the expiration date, and their stuff ain't cheap. Which annoys me. My favorite milk is probably the Central Market organic brand. I actually never buy Horizon to begin with. I used to a long time ago, but stopped because I just didn't think it tasted that good. I think the Central Market tastes the best of all the milk I've had, including the Whole Foods brand. However, I have no idea where it comes from, and seeing as how Aurora has a farm in Texas, it's possible it comes from them. I need to find out, though I desperately hope not. Maybe it will come from the Organic Valley farmers, and then I'll be in a win-win!