Organic Label Watchdog Takes on Target

| 10/21/2009 3:31:27 PM

Silk soymilkMark Kastel and the Cornucopia Institute are at it again, standing up for the organic food label and going after corporations who play loose with it. The organization co-founded by Kastel, who was recently named one of Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World,” just fired a volley at Target, accusing the megaretailer of deceiving customers about soymilk.

In a press release, Cornucopia says Target advertised Silk soymilk as organic in newspaper ads by showing the carton with “organic” on its label, even though the soymilk was not organic. Cornucopia has filed formal complaints with the U.S. Agriculture Department’s organic program and with Minnesota and Wisconsin officials.

Cornucopia has previously criticized Dean Foods, the maker of Silk, for quietly switching to conventional soybeans in the core products of its White Wave soy division.

Was the image of the organic carton an honest mistake by a graphic designer, or an attempt to capitalize on the cachet of the organic label by implying that Silk is organic? Target isn’t saying much at this point. Spokeswoman Jana O’Leary tells Utne Reader that Target is investigating the matter and that the retailer sells both organic and nonorganic Silk at its SuperTarget stores.

Cornucopia has called foul on Target before, most notably in 2007 when it accused Target’s private-label food line, Archer Farms, of using milk that was produced in violation of federal organic livestock standards by the Colorado-based Aurora Dairy. Despite that the USDA found Aurora had willfully violated 14 federal organic regulations, the dairy was allowed to stay in business and Target stuck with Aurora as its Archer Farms milk supplier.

Source: Cornucopia Institute, City Pages

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