When a Carton of Milk Gets ComplicatedPosted: July 8, 2012
It’s shopping day, so Pat went to Sprouts to get, among other things, Organic Valley dairy products. The brand is owned by the co-op CROPP and their milk comes from farmers adhering to strict animal husbandry standards. Plus, they make the only organic grass-fed milk I’ve been able to find in Phoenix. Their milk got four cows on Cornucopia’s organic milk scorecard, so I was fairly sure they were our best bet for politically correct milk.
Then I read the piece in the New York Times this morning about Big Business co-opting the organic foods industry. Stephanie Strom reports that Wendy Fulwider, a CROPP executive, is on the Department of Agriculture’s National Organics Standards Board next to giants like General Mills. Guess what? She consistently votes with her corporate fellow board members in favor of weakening organic standards. It’s looking like Organic Valley might not be a great choice.
And then there’s Mark Bittman’s piece in the Times, in which he advocates giving up milk altogether. Bittman claims that eliminating dairy from his diet has cured his acid reflux. He also cites one expert who says, “there are very credible links between dairy consumption and both Type 1 diabetes and the most dangerous form of prostate cancer.” One other reason Bitmann gives for giving up milk: the takeover of the dairy industry by big business at the expense of the small farmer.
So what’s left? According to the milk scorecard, Whole Foods 365 organic milk is probably the best we can do in Arizona. It’s all so complicated– recommendations like Bittman’s are starting to sound pretty good.