Horizon Organic, the largest organic dairy producer in the United States has been receiving tough criticism. Horizon Organic is now owned by Dean Foods who’s motto is “Created by nature, delivered by Dean”. The company also owns Land O’ Lakes butter and other non-organic brands.Four years ago PCC Natural Markets stopped carrying the brand because their customers were not pleased with Horizon Organic’s practices. Horizon Organic farms have been investigated and when compared to other organic farms, they look more like feedlots. The picture below is of the Fagundes Bros Factory which produces milk to be shipped to Horizon Organic. When visiting the Horizon Organic website the background of the pages is of children running around and laughing… it is very strange. Where are the cows and green pastures? I suppose they are trying to give the image that their dairy products make children happy and healthy. The company uses wind power, which is great, but I want to know more about the integrity of the product. They now carry a “natural” line for mom’s and kids which is not organic.The Organic Consumer’s Association describes the unhappy cows on Horizon Organic’s farms “Jammed in crowded pens atop the hardpan of the Idaho desert… Only occasionally do they eat fresh grass”. This is not how organic should be. Horizon Organic received a big zero on The Cornucopia Institute’s rating system for dairy. The score states that this brand is ethically deficient and that no farms were open enough to participate in the study. Natural By Nature received a full score of five, or otherwise “excellent”. Natural By Nature seems to be the opposite of Horizon Organic. On their website they state that many of the farmers who produce milk for them are Amish. Supporting small farmers is very ethical of the brand, but they do have more to please. Antibiotics and reproductive hormones are never used on the cows, regardless of what age they are, and all dairies are regularly visited by staff. They do not purchase dairy ingredients from outside sources. Their site shows pictures of cows grazing in a green pasture with pretty flowers off to the side. The milk is from 100% grass-fed cows. What this means is that instead of eating organic grain, which some organic dairy farmers feed their cows, these cows instead are eating grass, like cows should eat. Yet it is stated that in the winter months, cows are fed from 10 to 15 percent grain in order to prevent energy deficiencies in the cows. Farms are located in southeastern Pennsylvania. There is even a video on their site about grass-fed organic milk and about small family farms. They have also disclosed a full report on the biodiversity on their farms. Above is a picture of a peaceful Natural By Nature farm in Pennsylvania. Both brands are hormone free. This means that the farmers do not use rBGH or rBST hormones when caring for cows. The negative impacts of these hormones are clear. They sicken cows, causing mastitis, digestive disorders, sores, lacerations, and foot and leg ailments. In humans these hormones have been said to cause breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
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