Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Big food corporations committing massive organic fraud - investigation

NaturalNews) Expected to reach an estimated $35 billion in profits this year, the organic market has become attractive to food companies on all sides of the spectrum, opening up the door for potential abuses.

Under-the-table financial contributions to politicians in Washington have allowed Big Food companies to hijack the organic industry by selling products blatantly in violation of strict organic standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA fails to prosecute violators due to giant corporations' lobbyists pressuring the agency to "favor their preferred industrial model of food production," according to Mark Kastel, the Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.

Considered one of the "largest fraud investigations," the Wisconsin-based farm policy research group has worked diligently to uncover persistent violations, filing formal legal complaints against livestock operations producing milk, meat and eggs, accusing them of fraudulently marketing such products as organic.

Big Food selling organic products derived from animals kept in confinement, blatantly violating USDA organic standards

Federally mandated organic standards state that living conditions for livestock must "accommodate the health and natural behavior of... animals," meaning that chickens and cows absolutely must have year-round access to green pastures for grazing, shade, sunlight and fresh water and live unconfined.

Widely distributed brands like Horizon (owned by Dean Foods), have been caught violating these standards, prohibiting "legitimate grazing" and restricting animals' access to the outdoors.

Horizon (White Wave), the largest selling organic milk brand, was purchased in 2004 by Dean Foods, a giant agribusiness raking in an estimated $11 billion in sales. Dean Foods also happens to be the biggest conventional dairy marketer in the country. The corporate-owned Idaho farm that supplies milk for the Horizon label was originally a conventional factory-dairy that was converted into an organic production; however, cows were given no access to pastures for grazing as legally mandated.

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