Sunday, August 27, 2006

Are All Organic Dairy Products Created Equally?

A new study from the Cornucopia Institute tries to answer that question, rating organic dairy products from different farms & companies.

I was eager to read it, since organic dairy products often have an especially high mark-up over their non-organic counterparts. However, the study seems to be so determined to prove its organization's points that it's not helpful to the everyday shopper.

It actually only rates smaller farms and companies, saying private-label firms refused to participate in the study. Therefore only one product I frequently buy is even rated -- Stonyfield Yogurt.

The rest are given a zero score, but grouped into types of company (store-brand, large corporation, etc.) and painted with a broad brush. Harris Teeter- and Whole Foods- brand organic milk get zero scores but "two-cow" ratings, while Horizon gets a zero score but a "zero-cow" rating. Little explanation is given other than a general bias about the type of company.

All that is fine if you're trying to make a political statement, but not terribly helpful for the average consumer. I guess I'll avoid the Horizon milk/eggs from now on? Let me know if you have any tips on buying organic!

UPDATE: The Nation devotes this week's entire issue to the politics of food

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