Full Circle (Topco)
|Farm/Brand Headquarters||Elk Grove Village, IL|
Even though none of the one-cow rated brands responded to our survey request, we were able to determine that these brands, at the time of our research, were buying some or all of their organic milk from “factory-farm” sources. We conducted our research in this area through interviews with a number of industry sources and through federally maintained records.
In 2017, it was confirmed via milk plant codes that Full Circle sources at least some of their milk from Aurora Organic Dairy. Aurora is the largest factory-organic dairy producer in the USA, with a number of industrial-scale operations in Texas and Colorado. After formal legal complaints were filed by The Cornucopia Institute, 10 years ago, USDA investigators found Aurora in “willful” violation of the law, including illegally bringing in conventional cattle and confining cows without grazing. Aurora may still be shirking the organic requirements for grazing, as exposed by the article “Why Your ‘Organic’ Milk May Not Be Organic,” published in The Washington Post on May 1, 2017.
Unfortunately, there is an inherent limitation in private-label organic products: organic consumers tend to want to know where their food is coming from and how it is produced. Private-label products obscure these facts. Case in point, none of the private-label brands were open enough to participate in the dairy survey and scorecard.
The bottom line to private-label organic products is that they are “buyer beware.” We encourage consumers to be vigilant and contact stores to confirm who is supplying their private-label milk, or to just pay a for name-brand milk highly rated in the scorecard, from farmers and brands that are willing to be transparent in their business practices.
|TOTAL (possible score is 2700)||17|
1-Cow Rating | Poor - Store brands
|Ownership structure||1||Store brand or private label that did not participate|
|Milk Supply||1||No answer|
|Organic Production||1||No answer|
|Disclosure of Information for Verification||1||No answer|
|Organic Certification||1||No answer|
|Other Labels/Standards||1||No answer|
|Soy Free Ration?||No answer. Soy is likely used in feed.|
|Times Milked||1||No answer|
|Cull/death Rate||1||No answer|
|Antibiotic Use||1||No answer; animals given antibiotics may be introduced back into food stream after withdrawal times.|
|Hormone Usage||1||No answer; hormones may be used therapeutically|
|Farm Support||1||No answer|
|Procurement of Ingredients||1||No answer|