Verka

Rating
Farm/Brand HeadquartersSan Jose, CA
ProductsYogurt
Websitewww.verkausa.com/organic-yogurt.html
Market AreaCA, Midwest
Total Score0

If you’re a customer of this brand your voice may have some sway in convincing this company to participate. Please use your clout to ask their ownership or management to stand up for organic integrity by participating in The Cornucopia Institute’s research study and scorecard.

Participation in this survey and scorecard help separate the organic label between those brands that are truly organic and those that are ethically deficient and want to operate in secrecy. In a marketplace where industrial dairies have something to hide, the lack of transparency in brands that might otherwise score well hurts the integrity of the organic label.

Approximately 64% of all name brand organic dairy products participated in our research and are well-rated on this scorecard. The balance are generally owned by large corporations or procure all or part of their milk from “factory farms.” However, there are a few farm-based brands included in this category that have been invited to participate on numerous occasions. The operative question is: do they have something to hide? Otherwise, why would they be outliers not joining the rest of the ethical dairy community in banding together to expose fraudulent activities that are damaging family-scale dairy farmers and destroying consumer goodwill?

Whatever these brands tell you about their operations is self-serving and it would be prudent to question their trustworthiness.

CriteriaRatingComment
TOTAL (possible score is 1600)0
Farmstead dairies who live on-site (or work their own dairy daily) receive top points for this category. No transparency and/or no answer receive no points.
Ownership structure
0No answer
Farmstead dairies and well-managed cooperatives with only their own patrons get top points in this category. Fewer points go to brands that have less control over their milk supply.
Milk Supply
0No answer
Brands that do not also market any conventional products receive top points in this category. Brands that are less dedicated to organics receive fewer points.
Organic Production
0No answer
The best transparency toward Cornucopia investigators is rewarded by full points.
Disclosure of Information for Verification
0No answer
If a top-rated organic certifier certifies this brand they receive full points. Certifiers with questionable practices receive fewer points.
Organic Certification
0No answer
If this brand has other third-party labels, particularly animal-welfare labels, that will provide them extra points in this category depending on the particular label and its standards.
Other Labels/Standards
0No answer
100% Grass-fed with independent verification or independent standards to ensure compliance will receive full points in this category. Other points are attributed to how much forage composes the dairy cows’ diets.
Grass-fed
0No answer
No point value – this information is offered for buyers interested in milk from cows without soy in their diets.
Soy Free Ration?
No answer. Soy is likely used in feed.
Rating based on (a) policies of brand, (b) enforcement/oversight (c) acreage available per cow, (d) average days on pasture (e) investigative actions.
Pasture
0No answer
Where cows are milked one to two times per day they receive top points. It's standard organic protocol to milk two times a day. Dairies that milk three-to-four times a day is one indicator of factory-organics.
Times Milked
0No answer
A cull and/or death rate under 10% annually receives full points.
Cull/death Rate
0No answer
Closed herd (meaning the brand raises all their replacement cattle) receives full points. If conventional animals are purchased, the brand receives fewer points.
Replacements
0No answer
If this brand has a unique way of managing calves they receive more points. If they remove the calf shortly after birth (the standard practice) they receive 70 points.
Calves
0No answer
When the brand prohibits all antibiotic use they receive full points. No answer receives no points.
Antibiotic Use
0No answer; animals given antibiotics may be introduced back into food stream after withdrawal times.
When no hormones are used on farm(s) this brand receives full points. When the brand uses hormones therapeutically post-birth the brand receives 50 points.
Hormone Usage
0No answer; hormones may be used therapeutically
Farmstead dairies (lives on site) get full points and cooperative/corporations that set standards and have staff that visit the supplying dairies also receive top points. No direct supervision and/or personal relationship with farm(s) gets low or no points.
Farm Support
0No answer
Full control of any added ingredients (100% come from within organization) receives top points. Dairy ingredients purchased from a number of different vendors (with less direct control) receives fewer points in this category.
Procurement of Ingredients
0No answer
Several questions were asked in addition to the original survey questions that would ultimately give producers “extra credit” points. Look for details in individual brand explanations.
Extra Credit
0None

In the spirit of the 2018 giving season, a generous Cornucopia member has offered to DOUBLE ALL DONATIONS made in support of authentic and local food from true family farms. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to increase your impact with a gift to Cornucopia.

Donate Today