There is no term yet for fraudulent organic claims, as "greenwashing"means fraudulent or excessive claims to be "green." But the business of organic, and the entry of large corporations into the organic food chain, inevitably raises warning flags
After years of buying Horizon organic products (owned by Dean Foods,) I started reading negative press about them. Horizon uses a mass production system much like conventional farming. According to this story from salon.com, the cows "laze in crowded pens atop the brown hardpan of the Idaho desert," and have access to the outdoors (but only in summer,) but are hardly an example of "Happy, healthy cows produce better milk for you and your family," as the Horizon cartons state. They are also fed a grain-heavy diet which causes them to produce more milk, but is not healthy for them.
Then from the well-named Cornucopia Institute, whose Director Mark
Kastel says "Factory dairy farms are playing loose with the organic rules."
After a three-and-a-half year battle with Dean Foods regarding the legality of milk it labels as Horizon Organic, the country’s most aggressive organic industry watchdog filed additional legal actions today. Dean, the nation’s largest dairy processor, with nearly $12 billion in sales and controlling 50 different milk brands, has obtained a large percentage of its organic milk supply from giant factory farms milking thousands of cows each.
The Cornucopia Institute has filed a formal legal complaint with the USDA claiming that one of Dean’s Horizon suppliers, a dairy in Snelling, California, was skirting the law by confining the majority of their cows to a filthy feedlot rather than allowing them fresh grass and access to pasture as the federal organic regulations require.
The Organic Consumers Association is organizing a boycott of Horizon and five other "private label" brands supplied by Aurora organic diaries.
On the one hand, it was encouraging that giants like Wal-Mart (one of the five above) would start selling organic foods. On the other hand, if the word "organic" is to have any meaning at all, it must be strictly enforced. The USDA is somewhat hands-off on this issue, as the definition of organic for milk products is fairly vague and its certification procedure lax.