Organic 1% Lowfat Milk Strawberry - 12 x 8 oz. Cartons by Organic Valley
Organic Valley - Organic 1% Lowfat Milk Strawberry - 12 x 8 oz. Cartons (236 mL each)
Organic Valley Organic 1% Lowfat Milk Strawberry is a lunchbox classic! Organic Valley's delicious organic lowfat milk comes from the family farms of their cooperative, where the cows are raised on organic pastures and handled with the greatest of care. It's certified organic, as are all their products, to assure you they're produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones or pesticides. Ultra-pasteurization and revolutionary aseptic packaging give this delicious and nutritious beverage its incomparable versatility and freshness. Because they don’t require refrigeration, their shelf-stable milks strike the optimal balance between nutrition and convenience.
Nutrient density - Organic farmers nourish the soil that feeds their food. Research shows that organically-produced foods are higher in antioxidants and other nutrients than their conventional counterparts.
No persistent pesticides or synthetic fertilizers - Designed by intent to kill living organisms, persistent pesticides can be harmful to wildlife and human health, especially as they contaminate their food, air and water or accumulate in people's cells. Synthetic fertilizers require large quantities of fossil fuels to produce, and contribute to soil degradation and ocean dead zones. more: pesticides fertilizers
No synthetic growth or breeding hormones - Avoiding synthetic hormones (which are frequently given to conventional dairy and meat animals to alter reproductive cycles and speed up growth) means less stress for animals, and reduced human exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
No antibiotics - Overuse of antibiotics in farm animals leads to the development of dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections. Organic farmers instead rely on natural measures to promote and maintain animal health.
No GMOs - Genetically engineered crops are a relatively recent technology with potentially devastating impacts on ecosystems and human and animal health. Organic regulations forbid the use of genetically engineered seeds or animals (including clones).
Animal care - Organic philosophy means raising animals in harmony with nature. Quality animal care keeps animals healthy and productive, naturally. As they like to say, happy cows make the best milk!
Healthy Farms, Healthy Foods
Locally produced organic foods offer numerous benefits for your health and for the health of the animals, the soil, and the planet. At Organic Valley, they pride their selves in producing organic foods that satisfy the primary health concerns of consumers: good nutrition and protection from exposure to toxins and diseases. Their organically farmed foods are particularly well-suited to the unique nutritional needs and sensitivities of infants, children, and pregnant women.
Better taste and higher nutritional value
Ever tasted a real tree-ripened peach, or a garden-fresh ripe red tomato? If so you'll appreciate that food tastes better when it's grown in its own time. Organically raised animals grow at their own natural pace, without artificial growth hormones. This means less animal stress and better tasting food! Clean water, quality feed, fresh air, healthy pastures, and nutrient-rich soil all contribute to the superior taste of organically grown food.
The connection between flavor and nutrition is clear to us, since a number of organically produced foods have also been shown to have superior nutritional value. Milk from pasture-raised organic cows, for example, has recently been shown to have significantly higher levels of vitamin E, Omega 3 essential fatty acids, beta carotene and other antioxidants than milk from conventional cows raised in confinement. Locally produced foods also tend to be fresher, and are therefore more likely to contain more living nutrients. That's why they produce and ship organic milk from their regional farms across the country to the closest regional markets.
Choose Organic for a Healthy Start
Organic food and farming can help slow and potentially reverse the rising incidence of overweight, obesity and diabetes through mechanisms that include:
The Safest Choice
Promoting healthy cell division and laying the groundwork for healthy endocrine, immune system and other metabolic development;
establishing taste-based preferences in children for nutrient-dense, flavorful foods.
Largely eliminating exposure to approximately 180 pesticides known to disrupt the development or functioning of the endocrine system.
Food safety has been a growing concern of consumers since the late 1940's, when the use of synthetic chemicals in agricultural production was promoted to farmers as a way of enhancing productivity and increasing yield from every acre. Today, much uncertainty remains regarding the safety of currently used pesticides. Studies have implicated many of these substances in numerous serious health disorders, ranging from premature births to behavioral disorders to cancers. The use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and genetically modified organisms to intensify production in modern conventional agriculture practices also presents concerns for human and animal health.As organic farmers they believe that their plants and animals thrive when they care for them in harmony with nature. And, they have the high crop yields and low vet bills to prove it!
If healthy living depends on knowing your body, then knowing what you eat and where it comes from is of equal importance. For several decades, industrialized production and mass marketing of foods have made it increasingly difficult for consumers to maintain or understand a connection with the source of their foods.
They at Organic Valley encourage you to seek out local food sources and support their healthy production practices at your local farmers market and at the supermarket. With their regional strategy of food production and distribution, they offer you the opportunity to buy food produced from the Organic Valley farms nearest to you. Knowing what they know about the benefits of organic production, they believe the act of selecting and preparing foods from local and organic farmers is an act of love, a celebration of life, and a positive step toward the bright future they envision for your family and for theirs.
A synthetic pesticide is a poisonous chemical or mixture of chemicals that is intended to prevent, repel, or kill any pest. In agriculture, pesticides are used to kill insects, weeds, or fungi. However, synthetic pesticides present hazardous impacts far beyond their intended targets.
Synthetic pesticides evolved from the chemicals like mustard gas and nerve poison developed for chemical warfare in World Wars I and II. Seeking an outlet for their toxic chemicals after the war, manufacturers touted them as a way to control insects, fungi, bacteria, plants and other undesirable creatures (ie, "pests").
These new products provided some short term benefits, but came with many unintended consequences. Pests rapidly gained resistance to the chemicals, making them even more difficult to control than before. Also, pesticides killed many non-target organisms beyond pests; as their use increased, biologists noticed dramatic declines of beneficial insects and other animals. They continue to find ways synthetic pesticides are also toxic or carcinogenic to humans.
Synthetic Pesticides are Poisons
Pesticides have inherent toxicity because they are designed to kill living organisms that are considered "pests." Many pesticides are known to pose significant, acknowledged health risks to people—including birth defects, damage to the nervous system; disruption of hormones and endocrine systems; respiratory disorders; skin and eye irritations; and various types of cancers.
Exposure to persistent organic pollutants through diet has been linked to breast and other types of cancer, immune system suppression, nervous system disorders, reproductive damage, and disruption of hormonal systems. Male Reproductive Development: Hormone-disrupting chemicals in commercial pesticides have been linked to testicular cancer and low sperm counts in men, and to birth defects in baby boys. Public health costs associated with pesticide-related acute poisonings and cancer alone, add up to an estimated $1.1 billion dollars per year.
- Parkinson's disease has been linked to pesticide exposure.
- Impacts on Children, Pesticide exposure poses special concerns for children because of their high metabolisms and low body weights.
More than 1 million children between the ages of 1 and 5 ingest at least 15 pesticides every day from fruits and vegetables. More than 600,000 of these children eat a dose of organophosphate insecticides that the federal government considers unsafe. 61,000 eat doses that exceed "unsafe" levels by a factor of 10 or more.
Most babies today are born with persistent pesticides and other chemicals already in their bodies, passed from mother to child during fetal development. 21 different pesticides have been found in umbilical cord blood, suggesting tremendous potential damage at a critical developmental time. Since a baby's organs and systems are rapidly developing, they are often more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposure. The immature, porous blood-brain barrier allows greater chemical exposures to the developing brain. Early and pervasive chemical exposures are suspected in the sharp rise of health problems including autism, obesity, asthma, brain cancer and certain other childhood cancers.
They Keep Getting More
Every year, new research is published demonstrating the toxicity of pesticides to human health and the environment, often at doses previously declared "safe" by the pesticide industry and the government. Over the years, many pesticides that were once allowed by the EPA have eventually been banned—yet in some cases the damage remains. DDT still exists in the environment and in the cells of Americans, 30 years after it was banned in the United States. The risks of exposure to any single synthetic pesticide grow exponentially, and unpredictably, when combined with other environmental chemical exposures. There are over 600 registered pesticides in use at the present time. Due to increasing pest resistance, both the volume and the toxicity of these chemicals continues to rise. 940 million pounds of chemical pesticides were used in 2000. That’s more then 3 pounds for every person in the U.S. U.S. consumers experience up to 70 daily exposures to residues from persistent organic pollutants (POPs) through their diets.
The Organic Difference
Organic farmers do not use synthetic chemical pesticides.
USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations strictly prohibit the use of synthetic chemical pesticides. Organic growers use biological and cultural practices to handle pests, including crop rotation, the selection of resistant varieties, nutrient and water management, the provision of habitat for the natural enemies of pests, and release of beneficial organisms to protect crops from damage. Organic farmers may use natural pesticides from a list approved by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).
Choosing organic foods significantly reduces your exposure to pesticides.
Multiple studies have shown that organic diets significantly lower children’s dietary exposure to pesticides. One University of Washington study analyzed urine from children ages 3 – 11 for organ phosphorus (OP) pesticides and found that children consuming conventional foods had concentrations in their bodies that were on average nine times the EPA- established safe level for human health. When the children’s conventional foods were replaced with organic equivalents, their organophosphate levels dropped significantly. When the children resumed a conventional diet, the chemical concentrations in their bodies went back up to original levels. Scientists concluded that, "An organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organ phosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agricultural production.
About Synthetic Hormones
Organic regulations strictly forbid the use of synthetic growth or breeding hormones in livestock, because of concerns for potential impacts on the environment and human and animal health. At Organic Valley, they believe that synthetic hormones are not necessary, and they follow the “precautionary principle,” a simple belief that any potential risk to human health warrants caution.
More than rBGH
There's been a lot of press and controversy about the use of rBGH in conventional dairy cows. But there are up to 20 additional FDA approved hormones commonly used in conventional livestock production, as growth promoters or to artificially enhance breeding.
Growth Promoting Hormones
Growth hormones are widely used in the conventional beef industry to enhance weight gain in beef cattle and to enhance milk production in dairy cattle. The most well-known of these hormones is recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), an artificially produced hormone that, when injected, can increase milk production by up to 15%. In the beef industry, pellets of estrogenic growth hormones are implanted under the skin of the animal which slowly releases the hormone into the bloodstream. The hormone “promotes” extra weight gain, an economic benefit since it shortens the time an animal takes to reach ideal size. These “estrogenic” hormones mimic the hormone estrogen, which in turn can have potential negative effects on wildlife and on human health.
Humans are exposed to synthetic hormones when they eat the meat of livestock treated with these chemicals. The hormones are also excreted in the urine of livestock, and can contaminate water supplies for humans and wildlife, with deleterious results. While all animals produce estrogen, the effect of additional estrogen on mammals is not entirely understood. Some studies show a “feminizing effect” on males. Males exposed to environmental estrogens can show lowered sperm counts and abnormal sexual development. Environmental estrogens may also cause females to enter sexual maturity earlier than normal, and a potential increased risk of breast cancer. This growing body of evidence has prompted the European Union to ban growth promoting hormones and all imports that were produced with them.
The U.S. conventional dairy industry utilizes “breeding hormones” to enhance cycling and pregnancy rates for the benefit of production, not the cow. Primarily, breeding hormones are used for convenience: to have many cows come into estrus at the same time or to offset breeding difficulties due to poor genetics and physical condition. These hormones fall into two classes: prostaglandins and gonadotropins.
A Little is Too Much
Even tiny amounts of hormones used in livestock production can have a negative impact on human health, especially on developing fetuses and young children. Hormones affect the human body on a parts per billion level. There is a body of scientific evidence that links estrogen exposure to breast cancer. It is thought that the longer the exposure to high levels of the hormone, the greater the breast cancer risk. Estrogenic hormones are endocrine-disrupters, which mimic or disrupt their own natural hormones. Research has shown a negative effect on minnows and other fish in streams that are next to beef feedlots treated with growth hormones. Hormones: Not Worth It
The use of growth and breeding hormones offers no benefit to the consumer. The potential negative effects on the animals, human health and wildlife greatly outweigh any perceived economic benefit.
Organic Means No Antibiotics
Avoiding antibiotic use protects human health. The medical community agrees that widespread use of antibiotics leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs,” which pose increasing threats to humans. Researchers from Johns Hopkins investigated possible antibiotic resistance in airborne bacteria in a swine concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in the mid-Atlantic U.S. They concluded that exposure to airborne bacteria from a CAFO is a potential pathway for transferring antibiotic-resistant bacteria from animals to humans.
Routine antibiotic use in animals is an unacceptable risk.
The FDA has declared that antibiotic resistance in humans resulting from the use of antibiotics in animals “is an unacceptable risk to the public health.” The Union of Concerned Scientists found that “25 million pounds of valuable antibiotics -- roughly 70 percent of total US antibiotic production -- are fed to chickens, pigs, and cows for no therapeutic purposes like growth promotion.”
Antibiotics are prohibited in organic production.
Organic Valley farmer-members maintain and promote animal health and growth WITHOUT the use of antibiotics. To this end – and in accordance with USDA Organic regulations – their farmers focus on providing healthy living conditions, proper nutrition, and attentive care as the primary factors in preventing illness.
They focus on health and prevention in animal care.
Organic agriculture focuses on health maintenance and disease prevention by emphasizing proper nutrition and sanitation, and reducing animal stress. Close management, and preventative and holistic animal health maintenance are key. Holistic and preventative care practices include choosing genetically diverse breeding stock (which are naturally less susceptible to disease), quarantining incoming stock, and maintaining an appropriate environment for each particular animal species. Animals must not be overcrowded, and must be allowed access to the outdoors and direct sunlight. Cows and other ruminants must have access to pasture. Well-managed pasture supports good nutrition and animal health.
Farmers who have transitioned to organic farming find their need for veterinary services drop significantly under organic methods.
Organic veterinary tools include tinctures, homeopathy, essential oils, aloe products, whey products, botanicals, vitamins, trace macro elements, and probiotics. Veterinarians specializing in holistic methods of animal health maintenance offer a wealth of detailed information.
If holistic treatments are not effective, as a last resort farmers are encouraged to administer antibiotics rather than allowing an animal to suffer. If antibiotics are used, however, the animal cannot return to organic production - ever.* Fortunately, thanks to the naturally-maintained good health of their animals and the many holistic treatment options, this situation is rare. Animal care practices and treatments are documented in the organic farm plan. As a requirement of the USDA National Organic Program, all organic farmers must write a farm plan which describes how the farm will be managed organically, including animal treatments and practices. This must be approved by the farmer’s third-party certifying agency.
*Their Cooperative maintains the ability to review a members’ certification, and if it is determined that antibiotics were improperly used or an animal was allowed to suffer, that farmer's membership may be terminated.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
The term “genetically modified organism,” or GMO, refers to a living organism whose genes have been altered by inserting gene from an unrelated species. This type of technology is called “transgenic” technology and has been used in over 40 species of plants for food and fibers. In crops, the technology has generally been used to incorporate genes that enhance resistance to insecticides, herbicides or pesticides, enhance drought tolerance, encourage higher yields or promote the ability to plant more in a smaller area.
The most popular herbicide-tolerant GMOs are Monsanto's Roundup Ready™ crops, which are engineered to be resistant to the company's own broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup (Glyphosate). This enables growers to use large quantities of Roundup on their fields, and the herbicide will kill everything except the GM crop.
Today, over 80% of US corn, soybean and cotton crops are genetically modified. GM sugar beets were introduced in 2008, and already in the first year, 90% of the sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically modified. There have been many arguments justifying the incorporation of GMOs into the food supply. However, there is evidence that GM foods have an increased risk of causing allergic reactions, and uncontrollable cross-pollination depletes crop diversity which has resulted in resistant “super-weeds” and “super-pests.” It's clear that the primary benefits of GM seeds are to the seed and pesticide companies, not to growers or consumers. And many risks are as of yet unknown. The best way to avoid GM foods is to choose organic foods.
Organic Valley's Stand on GMOs. They have always been opposed to the use of GMOs. The family farmers of Organic Valley and Organic Prairie have not and will never knowingly or willingly utilize genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in any of their products, processes or feed. They have held this position since their inception in 1988.
They advocate for the elimination of GMOs. Organic Valley and Organic Prairie have always been actively involved in advocating for the elimination of GMOs. They support the position of many environmental, health, farmer and consumer organizations, and call for immediate mandatory labeling of all foods and food ingredients produced from GMOs.
Organic Valley is a founding supporter of the Non-GMO Project. In partnership with Center for Food Safety, Organic Valley supported the fight against GMO Round-up Ready alfalfa seed. They believe that questionable farming practices, such as the use of GMOs, should be prohibited until proven beyond any doubt to be safe for animals, the environment and people.
Certified organic products are the best option for consumers
The USDA Organic Rule states that "The use of genetically engineered organisms and their products are prohibited in any form or at any stage in organic production, processing or handling." Consumers can rest assured that Certified Organic means that a rigorous process has been followed which consumers can count on to avoid food that is produced with antibiotics, synthetic hormones and pesticides and GMOs.
Because organic farmers are required to meet rigorous audit requirements, they know that their farmers have not used GMOs, and have taken all required measures to protect against contamination. Organic farmers should have the right to farm without the threat of GMO contamination Organic farmers take every preventive measure to stop GMO contamination of their crops, but cross pollination and drift from other farms is out of their control. They are very concerned that organic farmers not be punished when they are in fact victims of GMO proliferation.
They believe the FDA should consider benefits to consumers first
According to a recent USDA assessment report, the FDA does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of food for the nation. The report states, “FDA’s inability to keep up with scientific advances means that American lives are at risk.” Consumer concern over the safety of GMOs and other questionable farming practices such as cloning and the use of rBGH, demonstrates the erosion of their trust in the FDA’s ability to effectively protect the food supply. The FDA should consider benefits to consumers first, NOT agri-business.
Humane Animal Treatment: A Cornerstone of Organic
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" - Mahatma Gandhi
Organic production practices are both earth and animal friendly. Thanks to input from concerned consumers, American Humane Association (AHA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the National Organic Standards:
- Require preventative health care practices such as adequate feed, nutritional supplements, sanitary housing and freedom of movement.
- Prohibit withholding medical treatment in cases of animal illness.
- Require access to outdoors and calls for conditions that accommodate the natural behavior of the animal.
- Require appropriate clean and dry bedding.
- Organic Valley Farmers Go Further
- Organic Valley customers often tell them they are concerned about humane animal treatment. So are Organic Valley farmers. Many of their dairy and poultry farmers have stories about building their barn before the house!
They farm in harmony with nature.
All Organic Valley animals have access to outdoors. Cattle graze in pasture whenever possible. Natural sunlight is required in the hen houses. To learn more about their farms and additional standards, visit their Transparency page. Their on-staff animal care specialist consults with farmers on how to work with animals' natural behaviors to maximize their comfort and well-being.
They provide conditions for optimal production and well-being without the use of synthetic hormones. Many Organic Valley farmers prefer to accept less than 50 pounds of milk per day rather than the usual 70 pounds conventional farmers expect. Farmers observe that this practice reduces stress on the animals and increases longevity.
They practice holistic and preventative animal health care. Care for animals is a primary concern for their farmers. Since the use of antibiotics and other quick fixes is strictly prohibited, organic animal farming has to involve healthy, happy animals. Their two staff veterinarians provide holistic health care expertise and assistance to their farmers.
Their farms are appropriate in scale. Organic Valley animals are raised on some of the smallest farms in America! Their average herd size is 77 cows. Appropriate scale is important to their philosophy of animal welfare. They love their animals. Organic Valley farmers often say that one of the reasons they farm is they love animals. From cows and chickens to horses and barn cats, all are considered part of the harmony of sustainable organic farming.
Pasturing: Cornerstone of Organic Dairy
They believe that allowing animals to carry out natural behaviors in the best possible living conditions is an essential part of organic farming because they know the best organic milk begins in the pasture.
Cows Love Grass. A Calf is Born on Pasture - Deal Family Farm. Cows are ruminants. This means that they are designed to eat grass. The bucolic vision of cows peacefully munching verdant pastures is not the agricultural norm, but it is the norm on the family farms of the Organic Valley cooperative. Their cows are free to eat the nutrient-dense grasses they love, which makes their milk nutritious and great tasting. Sunshine and Fresh Air. In a way, cows are like kids—the more time outside, the better. Whenever it is seasonally appropriate, their cows are provided with access to pasture. Compelling research shows that this leads to healthier cows and healthier milk.
The Highest Standards
As leaders and pioneers in the organic industry, the farmers of Organic Valley implemented pasturing standards for its own members back in 1995. The cooperative has always advocated for national, across-the-board pasturing standards, and in February 2010, the USDA National Organic Program introduced solid standards for all certified organic farms. They will continue working to protect the requirements because they know their citizen-partners expect healthy animals and humane care.
Organic Valley Takes the Lead
As former head of the Livestock Committee for the National Organic Standards Board, Organic Valley's CEO, George Siemon, has worked with farmers around the country to craft a guidance document for recommended pasturing practices. They firmly believe this guideline should be considered as an integral part of any organic livestock system.
Stewards of the Land
It's common sense—what's good for the land is what's good for your health. That's why they farm organically. It's an important way to protect their families, your family, and the environment that sustains us all.
Organic farming is based on the development of biological diversity, and the maintenance and replenishment of soil fertility. Organic stewardship of the land fosters healthy soils, clean water and diverse, vibrant ecosystems—keys to the natural self-sustaining balance that keeps pests in check and allows the production of healthy quantities of high quality foods, year after year.
Agricultural Policy Matters
Chemical farming inputs became popular in the middle of the last century as a way to maximize crop yields. Today conventional farmers and their world at large pay the price for these practices, which result in environmental and economic imbalances.
While synthetic pesticides may initially hit their targets, over time the substances become less effective and pest populations tend to develop resistance to the chemicals. This leads to increased pesticide applications without increased yields, and a race to develop ever more powerful pesticides that run far beyond the EPA's ability to study and regulate their use. While there is mounting evidence of widespread damage caused by conventional practices—contamination of food, water, soil, and air, diminished wildlife, soil erosion, and more—there are few policies in place to protect the environment or the public. One of the few agricultural policies that does have regulations they can count on is the National Organic Program.
Many of the farmers of Organic Valley's independent cooperative will tell you that a big reason they switched to organic farming was for their health or their children's. Nobody wants their family to become the experimental subject of pesticide exposures. They know that organic pest control methods are a safer path. In the long run they are better and more economically effective, too.
Organic land stewardship practices on the farm promote a healthy, balanced ecosystem, which is the best pest control available! Healthy, organically-built soils produce resilient plants with their own natural defenses against insects, fungus and disease. Animals who graze in organic pastures receive the fresh air, good food and exercise that keep them hardy and resistant to sickness as well. Organic farmers control weeds using methods that also build and protect fertile soils, and they provide habitat to encourage birds and other natural predators that help control insect pests.
It Starts with the Soil
Conventional agriculture uses large amounts of petroleum-based fertilizers. This provides plants with nitrogen to fuel rapid plant growth, but provides little else to build up the soil. Worse, excess applications lead to suffocating algae blooms in ponds and lakes. Conventional farming methods promote rapid loss of fertile topsoil through erosion as well. Good soil gets washed into their waterways, along with any chemical residues and nitrates. Organic methods of building soil fertility do more than just increase yields. They also build up minerals and micronutrients for robust, nutritious plants. Organic farmers protect their soil and local waterways through a variety of conservation practices.
Think Globally, Farm Organic Locally!
The impact of synthetic chemical use spreads far beyond the conventional farm and its neighbors. Persistent agricultural pollutants travel through the ecosystem to remote parts of the world, and have even been found in the polar ice caps. Through their land stewardship, organic farmers not only help build healthy farms and communities; they contribute to a healthier world.
Organic Valley's cooperative model of regional production means that their food is distributed and sold closer to the farm where it was produced. This means fresher food and less energy consumed to ship foods long distances. As more farmers join their co-op, they can offer more opportunity for you think globally and buy organic locally!
Organic is an Investment
It's common sense—home economics on a larger scale. Chemical-intensive conventional farming creates high yields of cheap food in the short term, but the cost is their compromised ecosystems and squandered natural resources. It creates a debt that they and their children can ill afford to repay.
The organic farming and food connection offers a bright hope that both consumers and farmers can own. When they farm organically and steward the land, they enhance the environment and protect natural resources. Your purchase of their products is a tangible investment in the future, with many tasty dividends!
Their cooperative defines organic as a philosophy and system of production that mirrors the natural laws of living organisms with emphasis on the interdependence of all life.
This definition reflects their deep convictions in their role as stewards of the earth. With the wisdom of generations, Organic Valley farmers care for the health of the land, the animals, and people who eat their food. They recognize the interdependency of all life and the value of sustainability, which results in the highest quality and purest foods possible.
Although Organic Valley's production standards go above and beyond government regulations, they uphold the USDA rules as the foundation of the organic industry. Their CEO, George Siemon, was instrumental in creating the USDA rules, and is working to see that they remain intact.
Organic Standards and the USDA Organic Seal.
On October 21, 2002, new USDA regulations went into effect governing the labeling of foods produced using organic agriculture. Food products that contain 95-100% certified organic ingredients may use the USDA Organic seal.
As promised by the USDA, the regulations:
- Reflect National Organic Standards Board recommendations regarding which substances used in production and processing are allowed or prohibited
- Prohibit the use of irradiation, sewage sludge, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in organic production
- Prohibit antibiotic and synthetic hormone use in organic meat and poultry
- Require 100% organic feed for organic livestock
What do national standards mean for consumers?
For consumers who want to minimize personal exposure to toxins and support humane and sustainable agricultural practices, the organic labeling laws are extremely important. Today, all agricultural products labeled "organic" have been verified by an accredited certification agency as meeting or exceeding USDA standards for organic production. All of Organic Valley's dairy, juice, eggs, meat, soy and produce meet the requirements to carry the new USDA Organic seal.
The Natural Hoax:
Natural Does NOT Equal Organic. Some manufacturers want you to think “natural” is better than organic. Don’t be fooled. Organic agriculture always starts from the ground up — building living soils as the foundation of a healthy planet, healthy animals, and healthy people. Organic foods are ALWAYS third-party certified to comply with strict, far- ranging USDA organic regulations. “Natural” foods are NOT. Don’t be fooled by the “natural” label. If your personal health, the environment, and a more sustainable future for everyone are important to you, look for the organic seal.
As an organic farmer-owned cooperative, sustainability has been ingrained in their mission from the start. They will always work to fulfill their mission in all its intentions and continually learn as they go. This is their pledge to their members, employees, communities and future generations. They are grateful to be on this mission and to all of you who share in this duty with them. From the farm fields to their business facilities to the grocery aisles, each choice is connected to the whole—organic in the truest sense.
Always Organic & Farmer-Owned since 1988
If a company is going to make a difference in today’s world, it’s going to have to think differently. At Organic Valley, their philosophy and decisions are based on the health and welfare of people, animals and the earth. They’re a mission-driven cooperative, owned by family farmers, and they’ve been leaders in organic agriculture from the very beginning.
The Roots Support the Crown
Greg Welsh Founding Farmer circa 1988Their story starts back in January of 1988—a time when family farms were on the brink of extinction. They were a handful of farmers in Southwestern Wisconsin’s coulee region and they shared a love of the land. They also shared the belief that a new, sustainable approach to agriculture could help family farms and rural communities survive. With a small poster inviting area farmers to join their current CEIEIO, George Siemon, for an informational meeting regarding the formation of the Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool (CROPP) at the county courthouse, they created enough momentum to carry them to this day.
Folks back then, just like you today, were concerned with food quality and environmental issues. They were looking for more natural, nutritious food—food grown without synthetic and potentially harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. They began by growing organic vegetables, and soon added organic dairy products. When they found the demand they anticipated was real, they created the Organic Valley brand name and expanded their product line.
The Cream Has Risen
Their co-op, through the Organic Valley brand, soon became the number one source of organic milk in the nation. Once pioneers of organic agriculture, they’re now an established leader. Organic is all they do. They remain driven by their mission to promote regional farm diversity and economic stability by the means of organic agricultural methods and the sale of certified organic products. They maintain integrity through their commitment to consumer education and delivering the highest quality, strictly organic products to consumers, schools, and a variety of manufacturers looking for organic ingredients.
At their helm is one of their original seven farmers, George Siemon, their Chief Executive Officer. George prefers the title C-E-I-E-I-O. A lifelong farmer, he and his family have operated an organic farm in the Bad Axe River valley of Wisconsin’s driftless area since 1977. With his unique combination of having a hand in the soil as well as being able to see the big picture, George has been a leader in the campaign to establish effective national standards for organic certification. They are committed to organic agriculture and building a future for sustainable family farming in America. Organic. It’s all they do.