For those members who recently received our February newsletter, we would like to note two corrections. The profile of Cornucopia board member Helen Kees incorrectly identified her secondary market for beef cattle as the Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool. After the cooperative expanded its scope a few years ago to include farmers nationwide, its membership voted to change the name to the Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP).
In our article profiling the most recent legal complaint against the large factory farm operator, Aurora Organic Dairy, we incorrectly identified one of their customers as Trader Joe’s. Aurora specializes in manufacturing private-label milk for a number of national chains, including some or all of the milk for: Safeway, Wild Oats, Costco, Tops, Giant and Woodstock. Our database now includes over 60 namebrand and private label organic dairy products in the marketplace and one of our staff members unfortunately scanned the spreadsheet incorrectly when preparing the research for this story. In actuality, industry sources and Interstate Milk Shipping Records indicate that Trader Joe’s procures their milk from three different sources. The question exists of whether or not private-label products, as they are traditionally managed, are compatible with organic labeling. After all, consumers turn to organics because they want to know where their food is coming from and the environmental, animal husbandry and other ethical parameters as to how it is produced. Grocery chains and distributors however like to have the flexibility of changing suppliers and keeping the true producers of the product anonymous. This allows them to seek out the lowest possible price and affords them great negotiating leverage with farmers and processors. Full information on namebrand and private label milk suppliers will be included in the upcoming report, Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Milk, due out in mid-March.