Foodconsumer.org

 
USCards.com Bookmark Us
All Food, Diet and Health News 
 
 Misc. News
 Must-Read News
 Letter to Editor
 Featured Products
 Recalls & Alerts
 Consumer Affair
 Non-food Things
 Health Tips
 Interesting Sites
 
 Diet & Health
 Heart & Blood
 Cancer
 Body Weight
 Children & Women
 General Health
 Nutrition
 
 Food & Health
 Food Chemicals
 Biological Agents
 Cooking & Packing
 Technologies
 Agri. & Environ.
 Laws & Politics
 
 General Health
 Drug News
 Diseases
 Mental Health
 Infectious Disease
 Environment
 Lifestyle
 Government
 Other News
 
 Food Consumer
 FC News & Others
Search





Search Foodconsumer & Others


Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo
Newsfeed

foodconsumer.org news feed
Su bmit news[release]



More than 100 credit cards available at uscards.com from uscards.com, you can pick more than 100 credit cards


Food & Health : Laws & Politics Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM


Lawsuits Announced Against Nation’s Biggest Organic Dairy
By The Cornucopia Institute
Oct 17, 2007 - 5:22:38 PM

E.mail t.his a.rticle
 P.rinter f.riendly p.age
Get n.ewsletter
 
   

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  
Mark Kastel, 608-625-2042
Ronnie Cummins, 218-226-4164

Lawsuits Announced Against Nation’s Biggest Organic Dairy
Class Action Suits Seek Damages from Sale of Fraudulent Milk

ST. LOUIS, MO / DENVER, CO – Acting on behalf of organic food consumers in 27 states, class action lawsuits are being filed in U.S. federal courts, in St. Louis and Denver, against the nation’s largest organic dairy.  The suits charge Aurora Dairy Corporation, based in Boulder, Colorado, with allegations of consumer fraud, negligence, and unjust enrichment concerning the sale of organic milk by the company.  This past April, Aurora officials received a notice from the USDA detailing multiple and “willful” violations of federal organic law that were found by federal investigators.  

“This is the largest scandal in the history of the organic industry,” said Mark Kastel of The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group.  Cornucopia’s 2005 formal legal complaint first alerted USDA investigators to the improprieties occurring at Aurora.  “Aurora was taking advantage of the consumer’s good will in the marketplace toward organics, and the USDA has allowed this scofflaw-corporation to continue to operate,” Kastel added.  

Law firms based in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri have so far have filed one of the lawsuits in Missouri, with another suit, covering dozens of additional states where plaintiffs live, due to be filed in Denver tomorrow.  The attorneys are seeking damages from Aurora to reimburse consumers harmed by the company’s actions and are requesting that the U.S. District Courts put an injunction in place to halt the ongoing sale of Aurora’s organic milk in the nation’s grocery stores until it can be demonstrated that the company is complying with federal organic regulations.

Aurora, with $100 million in annual sales, provides milk that is sold as organic and packaged as private label, store-brand products for some of the nation’s biggest chains, including Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Safeway, Wild Oats, and about 20 others. 

Independent investigators at the USDA concluded earlier this year that Aurora—with five dairy facilities in Colorado and Texas, each milking thousands of cows—had 14 “willful” violations of federal organic regulations.  One of the most egregious of the findings was that from December 5, 2003, to April 16, 2007, the Aurora Dairy “labeled and represented milk as organically produced, when such milk was not produced and handled in accordance with the National Organic Program regulations.”

Cornucopia's research, since confirmed by a two-year investigation by federal law enforcement agents, found that Aurora was confining their cows to pens and sheds in feedlots rather than grazing the animals as the federal law requires.  Furthermore, Aurora brought conventional animals into their organic milking operation in a manner prohibited by the Organic Food Production Act, a law passed by Congress in 1990 and implemented in 2002 by the USDA.

“We believe that there are tens of thousands of consumers across the United States who have been directly impacted by Aurora’s practices,” said Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association.  “We are pleased to see this legal action.  We will do what we can to ensure that organic continues to mean organic and that consumers get exactly that when they are paying premium prices for organic food,” Cummins added.  

“I feel cheated by Aurora’s organic misrepresentations,” said Sandie Regan, an organic consumer from Crown Point, Indiana, and one of the parties to the lawsuit.  “I am willing to pay more at the grocery store for organic milk because I believe the milk is healthier for me.  But it doesn’t look like I was getting what I paid for,” Regan added.

In addition to Missouri plaintiffs being represented by the St. Louis, Missouri–based law firm Simon Passanante, the larger multistate Denver suit is being handled by, attorneys from Lane, Alton, Horst  in Columbus, Ohio, Wolf, Haldenstein, Adler, Freeman, and Herz in Chicago, Illinois, and Gray, Ritter, and Graham, also based in St. Louis.  

“We encourage anyone who has purchased some of Aurora’s private-label products to contact OCA or Cornucopia, and we will help them obtain justice,” the Cornucopia's Kastel added.  Although not plaintiffs themselves, the two public-interest groups have supported the lawsuit through research and organizing.  A list of the grocery chains supplied by Aurora, the nation's largest private-label bottler, can be secured by contacting OCA or Cornucopia.

Cornucopia and OCA point out that Aurora is a "horrible aberration" and that the vast majority of all organic dairy products are produced with high integrity.  In a scorecard published last year, and available on their web site, Cornucopia rates over 90% of organic name-brand dairy products as truly subscribing to the letter and spirit of the law (available at www.cornucopia.org ).

“Aurora’s actions have injured the reputation of the more than 1500 legitimate organic dairy farmers who are faithfully following federal organic rules and regulations,” noted Kastel.  “We cannot allow these families to be placed at a competitive disadvantage.”

Many industry observers feel that the USDA’s enforcement mechanism broke down in the Aurora case.  After career USDA staff drafted a Letter of Proposed Revocation, seeking to prevent Aurora from engaging in organic commerce, political appointees at the agency intervened, crafting an agreement allowing Aurora to remain in business.  

"It is unconscionable that the USDA allowed Aurora to continue, after making millions of dollars, in this ‘ethics-based’ industry, when they had concluded that Aurora willfully violated the law," Kastel added.  "However, there is a higher authority in terms of organic integrity than the USDA—that's the organic consumer.  And they are about to make their voices heard through the courts."

-         30 –





© 2004-2008 by foodconsumer.org unless otherwise specified

Top of Page




Google
 
Web foodconsumer.org

Search Consumer-friendly Health Sites












We have moved to Food Consumer . Org



disclaimer | advertising | jobs | privacy | about us | newsletter | Submit news/articles
link partners: | Buy Viagra | MarketAmerica.com |
Buy a home | Auto Insurance | Mortgage refinancing | DaytonaCPA.com | Take Your Blog to a Higher Level
© Copyright 2004 - 2008 foodconsumer.org All rights reserved

Disclaimer: What's published on this website should be considered opinions of respective writers only and foodconsumer.org which has no political agenda nor commercial ambition may or may not endorse any opinion of any writer. No accuracy is guaranteed although writers are doing their best to provide accurate information only. The information on this website should not be construed as medical advice and should not be used to replace professional services provided by qualified or licensed health care workers. The site serves only as a platform for writers and readers to share knowledge, experience, and information from the scientific community, organizations, government agencies and individuals. Foodconsumer.org encourages readers who have had medical conditions to consult with licensed health care providers - conventional and or alternative medical practitioners.