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Fittingly Mad: I Wish I Could Trust Horizon's Label !!!

Fittingly Mad: I Wish I Could Trust Horizon's Label !!!

In light of my recent post about Horizon Dairy Products, I'd like to say that it makes me so mad that companies can say whatever they want on their labels, but behind closed doors, they just do whatever they want.

I really hadn't heard about Horizon Dairy's methods before my wonderful readers had brought it to my attention (or else I never would have praised it so much). Thank you to Amused Bystander and KerryG for those great links on the truth about Horizon's big business practices. Here's what I found out...

Since there has been such a high demand for organic milk, Horizon decided to produce more milk and label it organic, when it really doesn't deserve that prestigious label whatsoever.

In order to be considered organic, dairy cows need to have access to pastures for fresh air, exercise, and to graze on fresh grass. Horizon's dairy cows are let out rarely, at nighttime, or coincidentally when a tour group comes by. It's awful, but they are mostly stuck in barns, chowing on energy-rich food that increases their milk production. So when they're not eating, they're hooked up to milking machines. What kind of life is that?

When I think of organic milk, I picture happy cows (much like the leaping cartoon on Horizon's label), grazing freely on a lush hillside, able to come and go as they please. Horizon has shattered that image for me, and it looks like Aurora "Organic" Milk is more of the same.

Fit's Tips: You can do your part by boycotting big dairy companies like Horizon and Aurora. Buy from smaller, local, truly ORGANIC farms instead, so you know that the cows are treated more humanely. Or you could choose not to eat any dairy products at all, like vegan Alicia Silverstone. I, for one, can' really imagine a world without cheese, but my world will definitely be free of Horizon products.

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KerryG KerryG 9 years
jens, thanks for the Cornucopia link! I didn't know about that site and it looks really useful.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Well, I was thrilled to discover (after reading this) that our commissary actually has a separate organic fridge/freezer combo (in the toothpaste aisle! :? No wonder I hadn't noticed it.). And they DO carry Organic Valley. So yay!
bluejeanie bluejeanie 9 years
thank you for posting this, fitsugar. if you live by any urban areas, i'm sure you can find a co-op or natural health foods store to buy real organic dairy products. buy local, buy organic. most co-ops won't even touch those psuedo-organic corporations.
EllasMom EllasMom 9 years
I pick up local milk every week at my natural foods store. It's not "certified organic" but they don't use pesticides in feed, no antibiotics or growth hormone, and I get to bring the glass bottles back when I'm done to be reused. Also, I actually drive by the farm on occasion and the cows are out and about, roaming around and doing the things cows should be. If you have access to local milk, it may not be labeled as USDA organic, but it may still be a better option.
halestorm halestorm 9 years
Organic Valley is a cooperative made up of small family farms, and their milk is the BEST! They also have incredible soy milk (chocolate is my fave). And princesabella, White Wave, the makers of Silk, are owned by Dean foods, notorious for poor treatment of their cows. Go for Organic Valley next time. -halestorm (i've worked at a CoOp grocery store for 7 years, so i consider myself an insider ;) )
christinafry christinafry 9 years
Noooo! This is just horrible. The stores near me don't even offer an alternative! I guess I'll just stick to Silk for the time being :(
Fitness Fitness 9 years
Thanks jens and vegan musician for the links. It really can be hard to figure out who to believe. That's why I like to choose from smaller dairy farms that are local - that way I can go an tour their farm, see how the cows are being treated and ask tons of questions about their practices.
jens jens 9 years
I've found the Cornucopia Institute's site to be really helpful (and comprehensive!) in sorting out which organic dairies use the best farming practices. There are lots of recent news articles, as well as a scorecard with ratings for dozens of organic dairy brands. Here's the link to the scorecard: http://cornucopia.org/dairysurvey/index.html
vegan-musician vegan-musician 9 years
The "organic" label is regulated by the USDA, not the FDA. Here's a link. http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Consumers/brochure.html
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Not all of us have access to health food stores or Whole Foods type stores. Our farmer's market doesn't even carry organic produce, and carries no milk at all. So, for me, Horizon is at least a better alternative to antibiotic/hormone-laced milk.
misogi misogi 9 years
Blondieforever, the FDA isn't required by law to put a "the FDA checked this food" type of label on any food product it inspects. I don't know how we'd find out if any specific organization regulates the phrase "organic".
Blondieforever Blondieforever 9 years
I thought the phrase "organic" wasn't regulated by the FDA.
isahrangme isahrangme 9 years
but how do you KNOW that what you're saying THIS time is true? because when you were praising horizon before, you believed what you found right?
spudkitt spudkitt 9 years
As an organic dairy farmer in Vermont, I found this website interesting. We belong to the Organic Valley co-op http://www.organicvalley.coop/ that is the real deal when it comes to organics. Pasturing our cows and treating out cows humanely is top priority for us. Most of the milk that our farm produces goes to Stonyfield Farm http://www.stonyfield.com/.
spudkitt spudkitt 9 years
Phil asked,"I didn't know that! Anyone have a good organic yogurt alternative?" http://www.butterworksfarm.com/
misogi misogi 9 years
wackdoodle, I agree with the fact that the label "organic" on food is pretty pointless, but I haven't heard of a good alternative. Most people associate the word "organic" on a label with certain qualities, and as long as companies recognize that and act accordingly I think the mistake isn't that major. But anyways, that's going away from the point. Just because people don't treat others the way they should isn't an excuse for animals to be abused. Companies shouldn't lie about their products, but it happens more than we would like to admit. The worst thing is, there are plenty of countries that have taken steps towards less abusive treatment of animals or safer food. For example, meat that has growth hormones is illegal in Europe. I think "lofty ideals" are realistic, but as long as big corporations make billions of dollars their top priority we're going to be the ones who pay the price.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
I don't buy products based on their marketing including the use of the label organic. To do so is in my opinion foolish. The whole labeling of items as "organic" is stupid. Biological speaking the way the term is used is a misnomer because organic means anything that's derived from living organism or comprised of carbon (and the majority of the world is either derived from something living or comprised of carbon -hmm). Inorganic - dead stuff(stuff that isn't comprised of organic matter or carbon). It's unrealistic to expect a large nationwide or multistate manufacturer to keep up with increased demand for the high quality product, which most opt for because it is hormone and antibiotic-free rather than organic, without changing its production methodology. I believe even Cowgirl Creamery, who boasted of handmade cheese, here in SF uses machines to make their cheeses because demand has increased. Has decreaed the quality of the product or the care use to make the cheeses, no. Lofty ideals are great but you cannot feed families or live on them. I think despicable is a matter of opinion, an opinion I don't agree with but acknowledge. Remember humans are animals and we treat each other like crap all the time.
Phil Phil 9 years
I didn't know that! Anyone have a good organic yogurt alternative? :(
vegan-musician vegan-musician 9 years
btw, the article was from the chicago tribune, and the news-record reprinted it.
vegan-musician vegan-musician 9 years
the way that animals are treated when they're being used as food/clothing sources is despicable.
phatE phatE 9 years
i don't think those articles are sound.. show me a more reliable source than that.
lovekailua lovekailua 9 years
i recently attended an animal law conference in cambridge and learned many things, including the plight of many dairy cows....you know those "happy cows come from california?" not so much.you should have seen the pics i saw, just awful.
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
Sorry, but I question the validity of this source... some local-yokel newspaper out of Greensboro? Hmmm...
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