As we now know, the Aurora Dairy has been operating organic farms illegally. This was disturbing, to say the least.

And now, based on that evidence, The Cornucopia Institute has filed formal legal complaints against Aurora Dairy and their organic certifier, the Colorado Department of Agriculture. (They even went so far as to write to the Trump administration’s new USDA Secretary, Sonny Perdue, to ask for the removal of the agency’s lead organic regulator.)

Aurora Dairy is the largest supplier of store-brand, organic milk in the U.S. You can find their products at Walmart, Costco, Target, and other major supermarket chains (for their own proprietary brands).

This is not the first legal complaint Cornucopia has filed against Aurora.

Thanks to the investigative work done by Peter Whoriskey at The Washington Post the pattern of “long-term corruption by both Aurora Dairy and the USDA’s National Organic Program” is now clearly visible.

From the article:

What Whoriskey and his Washington Post colleagues found when they visited the largest Aurora dairy complex in Weld County, Colorado, was a giant feedlot where almost all of the 15,000 cows were confined to dirt and manure-covered pens rather than being out on pasture as the organic law requires.

Through repeated visits over eight days (some up to 10 hours long), and drone and satellite imagery, reporters found no more than 10% of the cattle out on grass — and many times, significantly less.

When visiting in October, prior to the first frost on the 20th, all cows were confined.  Aurora claimed that their Organic Systems Plan, approved by their certifier, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, ended their grazing on September 30 even though the federal law clearly states that cows must have access to pasture during the entire grazing season.

But it’s not just Aurora. Cornucopia has long alleged that the giant industrial dairies are actually confining their cattle to push cows for higher milk production, just like conventional CAFOs do. And that’s against the law. It’s also hurting actual organic dairy farmers. And it’s making organic dairy far less healthy.

The Post also made sure to get photos of the cows grazing. Or, in the case of Aurora’s cows- NOT grazing. Then, the Post contracted Virginia Tech “to test and compare the profile of fatty acids in Aurora’s milk to that of other organic and conventional brands.”

Guess what? The tests showed that the nutritional composition of Aurora’s milk is more similar to conventional milk.

It would be nice to think that Aurora and CDA were anomalies but Cornucopia has also collected “photographic and documentary evidence of serious violations of the law against other major organic certifiers, including Quality Assurance International, CCOF, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and Oregon Tilth.”

It’s time to nip this in the bud for the animals sake, our sake, and the farmer’s sakes. This kind of corruption cannot stand.

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