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Aurora Organic refutes Washington Post claims

Aurora Organic Dairy disputes claims by the Washington Post saying they don’t meet organic standards.

The newspaper reported last week they have observed Aurora Organic Dairy’s High Plains farm near Greeley, Colorado and found most of their 15-thousand dairy cows are in feedlots and barns, and not grazing according to organic standards.  Aurora’s Sonja Tuitele tells Brownfield the reporter drew conclusions based on occasional roadside observations.  “To not set foot on our actual property or see our facilities and to observe from the roadside over a couple of days in that 150 day period, and draw the conclusions that were drawn in that article is not only irresponsible, but it is basically saying that the organic certification system is not adequate, that his observations are what would dictate whether or not a producer is organic.”

Virginia Tech University tested milk from Aurora Organic Dairy for the Washington Post and concluded Aurora’s organic milk had less linoleic acids, and their cows were likely grazed less while fed more stored feed. Tuitele tells Brownfield the tests cannot show organic compliance.  “Even if you just meet the minimum of 30% of dry matter intake from pasture and the rest of the cow’s intake is from stored feed, you are still certified organic.  We completely reject the suggestion that organic compliance can be determined by a test such as this.”

Tuitele accuses the newspaper of collaborating with the Cornucopia Institute, which opposes large-scale organic farms and has filed complaints against Aurora three times since 2007.  She says, “Their most recent complaint was filed the same day that the Washington Post article came out, so it’s clear there was coordination between the reporter and this activist group, and their only reason for being is try to get large-scale organic dairy producers out of business.”

Aurora Organic Dairy is an organic milk supplier to national grocery chains including Walmart and Costco.

Sonja Tuitele talks about the newspaper’s criticism with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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