Success of organic dairy products creates copycat products and attacks from conventional dairies

Staff report

PORTLAND, Oregon: Sales of organic milk have risen 126% since 2000 despite a retail price double that of conventional milk and is now a $322 million a year business.

The organic milk industry was largely created by the widespread use of Monsanto’s artificial cow growth hormone known as rbGH and consumers’ negative reaction to it.

Now three conventional Oregon dairy marketers are swearing off rbGH in hopes of capturing some of organic’s glow as conventional milk sales have been moribund for many years.

The dairies are Alpenrose,, Eberhard and the Tillamook County Creamery Association.

Other dairy companies are fighting back with a “Milk is Milk” website that claims there is no difference between organic and conventional milk.

The website is funded by the Hudson Institute, a nonprofit funded by conventional food manufacturers.

The Organic Consumers Association said that organic dairy farmers only use “non-toxic” pesticides and no antibiotics so their milk is free of harmful residue.

Robert Pyne, a spokesman for the National Milk Producers Association, told The Wall Street Journal that the FDA requires milk to be tested and does not permit antibiotic or pesticide residues above minuscule levels.

The Journal said the only thing that many scientists currently agree upon is that milk from cows that have grazed grass for some period of time is indeed different and tends to be higher in certain healthy fats.

Ironically, a recent USDA proposal that all organic dairies be required to graze their cows to maintain their organic status is being fought by some of the largest organic dairies who have no pasture for their mega-herds.

Many organic consumers were shocked to learn that a huge amount of organic milk currently comes from feedlot dairies and this spurred the USDA to consider adding the pasture amendment to USDA organic certification.

“If the new rules require organic dairy farmers, unlike conventional dairy farmers, to pasture-feed, there may be a measurable difference between organic and conventional milk, “ The Wall Street Journal opined.

“Until then, it is open to debate.”

© by The Stockman Grass Farmer


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