HEB Organics (HEB Grocery Company/Central Market)

Rating
Farm/Brand HeadquartersSan Antonio, Texas
ProductsCheese, fluid milk, cream
Websitewww.heb.com
Market AreaTX, KS, OK
Total Score17

A number years ago HEB, the among the largest supermarket chains in Texas (who also owns Central Market), began purchasing milk from the Natural Prairie dairy, also in Texas. HEB owns their own dairy processing plant.

With a capacity of approximately 10,000 cows, Natural Prairie is one of the largest operations in the country. In fact, the six dairy certified organic industrial-scale dairies in Texas produce 1.5 times more milk than over 450 family-scale dairy farms in the state of Wisconsin.

Cornucopia has previously filed legal complaints with the USDA against Natural Prairie questioning the legitimacy of their meeting the legal grazing requirement in harsh arid conditions. According to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, it appears that the USDA’s National Organic Program only asked the certifier to confirm the status of Natural Prairie’s organic certification rather than investigating the allegations.

Now, based on a nationwide research of the sourcing of private-label milk brands it appears HEB is bottling milk (presumably from Natural Prairie) for this and other store brands.

Neither this brand, nor HEB, were transparent and willing to share the origins of their “organic” milk with our researchers and, thus, with their customers. It should be noted that we assure confidentiality to all dairy brands in terms of their sharing proprietary information with us (obviously, the vast majority of namebrand organic dairies trusted that commitment from Cornucopia).

We would encourage you to consult the organic dairy scorecard and purchase milk from the highest rated brands that are available in your area.

CriteriaPointsComment
TOTAL (possible score is 2700)17
1-Cow Rating | Poor - Store brands
Ownership structure1No answer
Milk Supply1No answer
Organic Production1No answer
Disclosure of Information for Verification1No answer
Organic Certification1No answer
Other Labels/Standards1No answer
Grass-fed1No answer
Soy Free Ration?No answer. Soy is likely used in feed.
Pasture1No answer
Times Milked1No answer
Cull/death Rate1No answer
Replacements1No answer
Calves1No answer
Antibiotic Use1No answer; animals given antibiotics may be introduced back into food stream after withdrawal times.
Hormone Usage1No answer; hormones may be used therapeutically
Farm Support1No answer
Procurement of Ingredients1No answer
Extra Credit1None