Fraudulent Organic Operation Decertified


| 12/4/2009 10:13:12 AM


Tags: industrial agriculture, organic agriculture,

Surprised CowBig news from the Cornucopia Institute yesterday: A federal judge has suspended Promiseland Livestock, LLC. from organic commerce for four years, following an investigation that exposed their “organic” claims as lies. Many thanks to Cornucopia for safeguarding consumers and restoring a little trust in the organic label. Read more about the victory below:

WASHINGTON, DC:  In an investigation and legal case that dragged on for almost four years, one of the largest organic cattle producers in the United States, Promiseland Livestock, LLC, was suspended from organic commerce, along with its owner and key employees, for four years.  The penalty was part of an order issued by administrative law judge Peter Davenport in Washington, DC on November 25. 

Promiseland, a multimillion dollar operation with facilities in Missouri and Nebraska, including over 13,000 acres of crop land, and managing 22,000 head of beef and dairy cattle, had been accused of multiple improprieties in formal legal complaints, including not feeding organic grain to cattle, selling fraudulent organic feed and "laundering" conventional cattle as organic.

"We are pleased that justice has been served in the Promiseland matter,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute.  Scrutiny from Cornucopia, one of the industry's most aggressive independent watchdogs, was part of the genesis for the comprehensive USDA investigation and subsequent legal proceedings.

Promiseland became the focus of Cornucopia's investigation into giant factory farms, milking thousands of cows, that were allegedly operating illegally.  Promiseland sold thousands of dairy cows to giant factory dairy farms owned by Dean Foods (Horizon Organic), Natural Prairie Dairy in Texas and Aurora Dairy based in Colorado.  Aurora and Natural Prairie supply private-label, store-brand milk for Wal-Mart, Costco, Target and major supermarket chains such as HEB, Safeway and Harris Teeter.

"It appears that it was the investigation into improprieties by Aurora that finally led to the hammer coming down on Promiseland," Kastel observed.  Aurora operates five dairies in Texas and Colorado and was found by USDA investigators to have “willfully” violated 14 tenets of federal organic regulations in 2007.  However, Bush administration officials let the $100 million corporate dairy continue in operation under a one-year probation. 




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