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Dean Foods Pulls Bait-and-Switch on "Organic" Silk Soymilk

  • Dean Foods Bulls Bait-and-Switch on "Organic" Silk Soymilk
    By Mike Adams
    NaturalNews, November 10, 2009
    Straight to the Source

Until early 2009, Silk brand soy milk was made using organic soybeans. But earlier this year, Dean Foods (owner of the Silk brand) quietly switched to conventional soybeans, which are often grown with pesticides. But they kept the same UPC barcodes on their products, and they kept the product label virtually the same, only replacing the word "organic" with "natural" in a way that was barely noticeable. They also kept the price the same, charging consumers "organic" prices for a product that was now suddenly made with conventionally-grown soybeans.

Many retailers and consumers never noticed the bait-and-switch tactic, so they kept buying Silk, thinking it was still organic. The shift on the product label from "organic" to "natural" wasn't well understood by consumers, either. Many consumers continue to think that the term "natural" is basically the same as "organic," when in fact they are almost opposites. The term "natural" is entirely unregulated, and almost anything can be claimed to be "natural" even when it's sprayed with pesticides or treated with other chemicals.

This bait-and-switch ploy continued throughout 2009 until a few watchdog organizations started to catch on to the covert switch. In late October, the Cornucopia Institute (www.Cornucopia.org) accused Target stores of misleading consumers by advertising Silk products using the old "organic" labeling even though the product being sold in stores was not organic. Cornucopia's Mark Kastel accused Target and Dean Foods for "blurring the line between organic and natural," thereby confusing consumers while boosting profits from the more lucrative sales of non-organic products sold at organic prices. (http://www.cornucopia.org/2009/10/o...)

Meanwhile, a Sunflower health food store in Texas also found itself caught up in the bait-and-switch tactic. It had been reordering Silk for months, thinking the product was still organic. But now, after discovering the scam, the store posts a hand-written sign in front of the Silk products, warning consumers with this message: "Silk is no longer organic."

"We don't want to be part of customer deception," said the store owner in a Star-Telegram interview.  


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