According to a recently published press release, the Cornucopia Institute has just learned that the USDA may revoke the organic certification of one of the nation’s leading and largest dairy operator, Aurora Organic Dairy.
Aurora Organic Diary is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. It milks thousands of cows each day in both Colorado and Texas. However, recently the company has been under investigations from the USDA after numerous legal complaints by the Cornucopia Institute.
The Cornucopia Institute is a Wisconsin-based institution and farm policy group that aims to inform the public about the benefits of organic food, but also scams and problems within the organic food industry. The Cornucopia Institute has filed complaints against Aurora Organic Dairy, including complaints of livestock management.
Mark Kastel, Cornucopia’s senior farm policy analyst, said, “After personally inspecting some of Aurora’s dairies in Texas and Colorado, we found 98% of their cattle in feedlots instead of grazing on pasture as the law requires. Our sources tell us that USDA’s investigators found many other violations during their own probe of Aurora.” In addition, Aurora Organic Dairy cows come from a non-certified organic source.
Kastel added, “We understand that powerful political influence is being brought to bear on the USDA in an effort to delay or water down the penalties against Aurora. We hope that the USDA will issue tough sanctions, if warranted…and we want the agency to know that the organic community is closely monitoring this case.”
What’s also scary is that Aurora Organic Dairy does not package its milk under its company name. Instead, it’s the United States’ largest private label producer of organic diary products, especially milk. Aurora Organic Dairy actually packages store brand dairy items for Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, Wild Oats, Trader Joe’s, and other national grocery chains.
The Cornucopia Institute has targeted other organic producers for organic violations. One of the producers was Vander Eyk in Pixley, Cal. who lost their organic certification after an investigation revealed federal organic violations.
In conclusion, Kastel added, “The good news is that Cornucopia’s survey of organic dairy brands gave 90% of name-brand products very high ratings for environmental and animal practices used in milk for the dairy products.”
So how do consumers feel about this issue?
Chicago resident and organic shopper Leyla Lykes said, “This place should lose their license if they aren’t meeting organic laws. If they keep their license and continue to produce products while breaking these guidelines, I feel like consumers are being lied to because what they’re buying isn’t organic.”