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Horizon Organic Ignored OCA's Offer to End Milk Boycott

CONTACT:  Ronnie Cummins  218-226-4164

WASHINGTON, DC- The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) will step up efforts to promote its boycott against Horizon Organic (a subsidiary of Dean Foods and a supplier to Wal-Mart) after talks through a mediator failed to produce any resolution. Since the Natural Products Expo East held in Baltimore in October of 2006, OCA has worked through Michael Funk, CEO of United Natural Foods to find a solution.

"We have acted in good faith and have notified Horizon on what they need to do for OCA to end the boycott. It seems the constructive dialogue we had with mediator Michael Funk, CEO United Natural Foods has been cut off," says Ronnie Cummins, Executive Director of the Organic Consumers Association.  "It is up to Horizon to decide if they are going to comply with consumer expectations and make sure that their milk is truly organic, or if they are going to continue to exploit loopholes in the USDA NOP (National Organic Program) to sell sham organic milk."

These solutions to end OCAs boycott were offered to Horizon Organic through Mr. Funk in November of 2006:

(1) Horizon will immediately and publicly announce plans to discontinue purchasing organic milk from any source not meeting the proposed NOP dairy pasture standards (grazing during the entire growing season, but not less than 120 days, and providing a minimum of 30% dry matter intake during the growing season).

(2) Horizon will put into place a policy on its corporate owned farms, and a requirement for its independent suppliers that any cattle brought onto a certified organic dairy operation will have been managed organically from the last third of gestation.

(3) Horizon will immediately open its records on its farming operations and its facilities for inspection by an independent certifier/verification team or agency chosen by the Organic Consumers Association.  

(4) Horizon will provide the names and contact information for all farms milking over 400 cows and require their independent suppliers to be subjected to independent third-party inspection by an independent certifier/verification agency chosen by the Organic Consumers Association.

(5) Before any public announcement about a suspension of the boycott takes place, OCA's designated outside verification team will have the right to inspect any or all of Horizon's proprietary farms as well as designated farm supplies with herds of 400 or more milking cows.    

OCA initiated a boycott against Horizon (and Aurora Organic) in May, 2006 over their use of loopholes in the USDA NOP rules that allow them to label milk produced at giant intensive confinement dairy feedlots as USDA Organic. Further, a study by the Cornucopia Institute found that Horizon is purchasing the majority of their milk from feedlot dairies where the cows have little or no access to pasture, and have routinely been imported from conventional farms, where the animals have been weaned on blood plasma, fed genetically engineered feed, slaughterhouse waste, and poultry manure, and injected or treated with antibiotics.

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ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
6771 SOUTH SILVER HILL DRIVE
FINLAND, MN 55603 USA
Telephone: 218-226-4164
Fax: 218-353-7652
http://www.organicconsumers.org