After a seven-year-long battle between organic farmers and consumers and the USDA, the first of a handful of industrial-scale dairies, producing what they claimed was organic milk, has been shut down by regulatory authorities. It was announced today by an organic industry watchdog group that a 10,000-cow feedlot dairy, near Fresno in central California, was found to be operating outside of the organic law and has had their certificate to produce organic milk suspended.
The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group based in Wisconsin, which acts as an organic industry watchdog, announced that the Case Vander Eyk Jr. Dairy in Pixley, California, has been forced to suspend selling organic milk. In early 2005, Cornucopia filed the first of a series of formal legal complaints with the USDA against large factory-farm operators, including Vander Eyk, alleging that the mammoth "factory farms" were violating the spirit and letter of the organic law by confining their animals to pens and sheds rather than grazing them.
According to governmental regulators the dairy lost its ability to ship organic milk last month after receiving a notice of suspension from its USDA-accredited certifier, Quality Assurance International (QAI), for serious questions surrounding the record-keeping such as assuring that cows are actually managed organically (without antibiotics and hormones), fed organically produced feed (without toxic pesticides and herbicides), and are allowed to graze rather than being confined in a feedlot. View Video - R.I.P. Organic Dairy