Apparently, the lawsuit against Horizon's parent company, Dean foods, has been dropped by the USDA. Despite Cornucopia's claims to Dean Foods' "14 willful violations" of organic standards, the USDA continued to let them operate, and has dropped investigations in response to Coruncopia's 2006 filing.
Some blame powerful friends in Washington, which wouldn't surprise me at all, but I also thought this paragraph was very telling:
“It must pay to have powerful friends in Washington, DC!,” said Dave Minar, a long-time organic dairyman milking 150 cows near New Prague, Minnesota. “The USDA has ignored well-documented concerns about the propriety of these factory-farms for years, allowing large corporate agribusiness to take over a majority of the organic dairy business. This places ethical families like mine at a distinct competitive disadvantage.”
It makes one wonder (well, at least it makes me wonder) if perhaps some of this wasn't overblown a little due to an anti-corporation agenda. Which, if it is the case, isn't the worst kind of agenda to have, to be sure. Nevertheless, if Cornucopia is fudging the truth to make the ends justify the means, I have a problem with that.
On the other hand, I have absolutely no doubt that the Aurora farms were in violation of organic standards, and if they've lost significant market share over this, well, I'm not gonna sit around crying for them.
Either way, the whole deal is pretty shady if you ask me, and I'll stick to my Central Market and Organic Valley products. I never really buy Horizon stuff anyway, but I'll definitely be sure not to now. And I did find out that the farm that bottles Central Market's Organics brand milk is a family farm east of San Antonio.
Which made me happy. But I do plan to put in a call to Central Market's procurement office tomorrow to ask if they're aware of all of this Horizon business. If you're interested in calling them yourself, the number is 512.421.1085.