Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Organic Milk Ranking

Go to the Cornicopia Institute's Organic Dairy ReportcardThe Cornucopia Institute* has ranked 68 "organic" dairy companies, on a scale of 1 to 5, based on their adherence to organic standards. You may view their scorecard here.

The rankings were determined by a point system. Companies scored from 0 to 1200 points based on the following criteria:
  • Ownership structure - More points for family- or farmer-owned businesses.
  • Milk supply - Fewer points for supplementing with questionable outside sources.
  • Disclosure - Fewer points for partial disclosure.
  • Farm Certifier - More points for using a reputable certifying organization.
  • Pasture - More points for higher acreage and more time spent pasturing.
  • Cull rate - More points for low slaughter rate.
  • Replacement animals - Fewer points for using milk from non-organic replacement animals.
  • Antibiotics - Fewer points for use of antibiotics.
  • Hormones - Fewer points for use of hormones.
  • Farm oversight - More points for direct vs. outsourced herd supervision.
  • Outside ingredients - Fewer points for supplementing with questionable outside products.
Except for cultured milk products like yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk, and a spit of cheese and butter, I'm not a big dairy consumer. Still, this scorecard is about to change my buying habits. No more Lifeway kefir, shucks. And I'm sorry to see Whole Foods' milk products ranked at only 2. I don't buy their milk, but I'll be disinclined to purchase any dairy product from them based on this. Thank goodness Stonyfield yogurt came in at a 4.

* The Cornucopia Institute is a progressive farm policy research group based in Wisconsin that promotes sustainable and organic agriculture.

No comments: