Sunday, September 17, 2006

(Organic) Milk for the Masses

Organic milk is often the entry point into organic products. This is especially true for mothers of small children. (For example, it was this little kid's first organic), and it's not just Volvo-driving, power-suit wearing moms who want organic for their kids. So Wal-Mart's aggressive entry into the organic milk market -- marked by its announcement that its rolling out its own brand (reported yesterday in the New York Times) should be good news for some consumers.

It's not all dancing in the Wal-Mart aisles, though. Wal-Mart's supplier is Aurora Organic Dairy, which critics consider a feedlot. Critics argue milk from Aurora is weakening the organic brand by failing to provide adequate access to pasture, feeding grains (rather than allow the ruminents to ruminate) and operating what amount to feedlot operations.

Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) drew attention to the issue of access to pasture, and to daries like Aurora in his response to an "Open Letter" from Whole Foods CEO John Mackey.

Ag-Law will follow this story for our readers.


Blogger Christopher said...

Morgan, thanks for calling attention to this. The listserv of the Association for the Study of Food and Society has been abuzz with organic milk debates recently. (See Much of the hostility is directed at Horizon Dairy, which provides milk to Whole Foods. I am a bit surprised that serious organic producers have not gone to greater lengths to distinguish their products from those that merely meet the governmental standards (like Horizon's). Wine bottles now tell consumers everything about how the grapes were grown, the conditions of the soil, and the vinification methods (presumably because they think we care), so why don't organic producers tell consumers about all of their practices? At least then consumers could make more informed decisions.

9/18/2006 11:09 AM  

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