photo: J. Novak
After a lengthy investigation into the matter, the USDA has decertified Promiseland Livestock's organic certification for the next four years. Promiseland is one of the largest organic livestock producers in the nation with over 13,000 acres of crop lands and 22,000 head of cattle. The investigation was fueled by organic watchdog group, Cornucopia Institute who accused Promiseland of impropriety resulting when they sold cows to Dean Foods (Horizon Organic) and Aurora Dairy.
Back in October I wrote that Dean Foods itself, Silk Soy Milk's producer, was accused of misrepresentation when it shifted away from producing all organic products and an ad that pictured Silk Soymilk with an organic label surfaced.
This time however, the problem revolved around Aurora Dairy. After Aurora bought thousands of dairy cows from Promiseland they then violated 14 tenets of federal organic regulations in 2007.
According to Cornucopia, the Bush administration allowed Promiseland and Aurora to continue operating for years with knowledge of the issue. Administrative law judge Peter Davenport in Washington, DC suspended certification on November 25. Promiseland was not actually accused of selling fraudulent organic products, but rather of not allowing the USDA to inspect financial and organic records, according to Cornucopia's press release.