Horizon Organic Milk: Is it All Just Lies?

By Paul Michael on 15 May 2007 (Updated 8 June 2011) 188 comments

Under the advice of several colleagues and readers, I decided to pick up a copy of The Omnivore's Dilemma. Fascinating read to say the least, and one thing that cropped up was the term 'organic' and how the word has become perverted and practically raped by the agricultural industry. Not surprising when you consider it's now a $15 billion a year business. That's a lot of money…which means power…which means corruption. (See also: Deciding Which Produce to Buy Organic - The Dirty Dozen)

So, I decided to do some digging around, putting a product in my own fridge under the microscope. Horizon Organic Milk. The packaging and verbiage promise a lot, a beautiful world of cows grazing in green pastures with big smiles, happily producing only he tastiest, unsullied milk. I reproduce it here word for word, you can judge for yourself if it's entirely truthful as we continue.

HORIZON ORGANIC — A Choice You Can Feel Good About

Horizon Organic products are as good for you as they are delicious because they are produced without the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones or dangerous pesticides.

That's why choosing Horizon Organic is a wholesome and nutritious way to help reduce your exposure to added chemical. And drinking our milk is also a great way to nourish your body. It provides an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D.

When you choose Horizon Organic you also contribute to the health and well being of the planet and animals. We allow our cows to make milk according to their natural cycle and keep them in good health by giving them certified organic feed, fresh air and access to pasture. In return, our cows give us great-tasting organic milk.

Best put, all of our products proudly carry the USDA Organic seal and that says it all. Thank you for choosing Horizon Organic. We hope it's a choice that leaves you feeling good inside and out.

Now, as far as I can see there are some misleading and downright deceptive statements in that copy. Let's deal with them one at a time.

"…they are produced without the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones or dangerous pesticides."

As it turns out, antibiotics were never added to milk or were ever present in milk. According to the USDA, all milk must be tested to ensure any antibiotics used to treat milk cows are not present in the end product. So, this cannot be a claim as it fundamentally untrue anyway. In fact, the terms 'antibiotic free' and 'no-antibiotic' are false claims that the USDA is trying to crack down on.

Similarly, the same can be said of the other claims, regarding pesticides and hormones. First, hormones will always be present in milk; it's part of the biology of a cow. To call milk 'hormone-free' is like making the claim that 90% ground beef is fat-free. But growth hormones, again according to the USDA, are only ever approved for beef cattle, plus lamb and veal. So, again another inflated claim. And by the way, Vitamin D3 is added to all milk…it is also a hormone.

Finally, pesticides. The FTC has ruled that a manufacturer cannot make a "no pesticide" claim as it is untruthful, because pesticides are never added to milk or milk products. It's like claiming that the new car you buy comes without chlorine gas inside the cabin. It's just not a claim.

"We allow our cows to make milk according to their natural cycle and keep them in good health by giving them certified organic feed, fresh air and access to pasture."

The key word here is 'access.' Right now at work I have access to the executive squash courts, but I am rarely allowed to use them, if at all. I'm too busy and I'm not an exec. Well, the cows at Horizon may have access to pasture but it's a known industry fact that milk cows don't spend their days grazing on green grass. They just get to look at it, cooped up in the usual factory-farming warehouses. Occasionally, when the press drops in, the cows may be allowed out for 20 minutes to make a good showing, but this is a rarity. For Horizon Milk to remain productive and profitable, they must keep their cows hooked up to the milking machines.

Horizon cows are hard workers. The average Horizon organic cow produces almost double the amount of milk of the national average. Which makes it even more difficult for these poor cows to step outside.

Then there are the slaughter rates. They're higher than the national average because, as no antibiotics are involved, they simply ship the cow off to slaughter if it gets sick. And as the factory-farming conditions are rife with disease and infection, this happens a lot.

p>We should also address the claim of certified organic feed. In the past, Horizon has and used and supported local area farmers. But the growth of the organic industry could not let the limitations of these small farms get in the way of making a profit. Now most of the feed that Horizon buys is shipped in on massive railroad cars, processed by a giant corporate agribusiness and then given to the cows. And much of this feed is irrigated by dams that have been condemned for destroying ecosystems. So, while it may technically fit the terms of the organic feed set out by the USDA, it does not support local farmers…and that was originally a backbone of the organic industry.

"…all of our products proudly carry the USDA Organic seal and that says it all."

The USDA Organic Seal can only be given to products that are made with 95% organic ingredients. But what does 'organic' mean? The most commonly accepted definition of "organically grown" food comes from Robert Rodale, editor of Organic Gardening & Farming magazine. This from 1972…

"Food grown without pesticides; grown without artificial fertilizers; grown in soil whose humus content is increased by the additions of organic matter, grown in soil whose mineral content is increased by the application of natural mineral fertilizers; has not been treated with preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, etc."

But in 1980 a team of USDA scientists concluded there was in fact no universally accepted definition for organic farming.

"The organic movement represents a spectrum of practices, attitudes, and philosophies. On the one hand are those organic practitioners who would not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides under any circumstances. These producers hold rigidly to their purist philosophy. At the other end of the spectrum, organic farmers espouse a more flexible approach. While striving to avoid the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, these practitioners do not rule them out entirely. Instead, when absolutely necessary, some fertilizers and also herbicides are very selectively and sparingly used as a second line of defense. Nevertheless, these farmers, too, consider themselves to be organic farmers."

So, in 1997 Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman stated the following:

"What is organic? Generally, it is agriculture produced through a natural as opposed to synthetic process. The natural portion of the definition is fairly obvious, but process is an equally critical distinction. When we certify organic, we are certifying not just a product but the farming and handling practices that yield it. When you buy a certified organic tomato, for instance, you are buying the product of an organic farm. And, consumers are willing to fork over a little more for that tomato. They've shown that they will pay a premium for organic food. National standards are our way of ensuring that consumers get what they pay for."

Get it? It's just another way of saying that the production of the food differed slightly than the production of regular food. Organic is not a term meaning that the content of the food is any different, just the way in which the manufacturer arrived at the end product.

And here's the punch line, taken directly from the USDA:

"No distinctions should be made between organically and non-organically produced products in terms of quality, appearance, or safety."

Basically, even with the USDA Organic Seal, the food can really make no claims that it is more nutritious, better quality or safer to eat. In short, organic food may in fact be almost no different at all than regular food. Until you notice the price tag…often double, or even triple the price of the same product without the USDA seal.

So, continue buying Horizon Milk if the copy makes you feel like you're doing something good. But now that you know it's not quite a truthful picture, maybe you can pass by the Horizon milk aisle and stop contributing to an enormous agribusiness that feeds us more lies than good products...and charges you extra cash for the privilege.

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Andrea Karim's picture

And here’s the punch line, taken directly from the USDA…

"No distinctions should be made between organically and non-organically produced products in terms of quality, appearance, or safety."

I have a feeling that this is less of an indicator that organic food quality is the same as non-organic, and more a statement to pacify the rest of the food industry that doesn't actually produce organic food. In terms of safety, it might very well be the case that organic food is safer, but they have to say it isn't in order to keep from getting sued by, say, Kraft Foods.

Guest's picture
Guest

The USDA standards and what they say publicly is always to be taken with a pinch of salt. I would not base my opinion on them.
Common sense, though, can assume this: the bigger the company, the less likely that they are able to follow practices that will pacify an ecologically conscious mind.

Guest's picture
Guest

The USDA standards and what they say publicly is always to be taken with a pinch of salt. I would not base my opinion on them.
Common sense, though, can assume this: the bigger the company, the less likely that they are able to follow practices that will pacify an ecologically conscious mind.

Guest's picture
Guest

everyone knows what milk tastes like.
or at least I thought I did. I can't express how angry I was the first time I TASTED horizon whole milk. all this time I had been drinking milk flazored WATER!

Guest's picture
Dan

“…they are produced without the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones or dangerous pesticides.”

Do anyone seriously read this and think it applies to the milk instead of the cow? I read this as saying that the cows are raised without antibiotics, are not given growth hormones, and do not ingest food tainted by pesticides.

Surely you have better uses for your time and this blog than this.

Guest's picture
Naro

There's enough balogna in this blog to make sandwiches for the whole world! Maybe Paul should get a job with Oscar Mayer!

Guest's picture
Guest

you need to check out cornucopia.org for proof that Horizon is not living up to their promises.

Guest's picture

of course we assume it applies to the cow - because it does. that is the whole point. it is false advertising and green washing. few have the dedication to purchase local 'from the farm' milk or the stomach to consider unpasteurized. these people relieve their guilt by buying "organic" and the idea of this blog was to expose the misleading greenfront that horizon is putting on.
this post was very worthwhile.

Guest's picture
Guest

Ditto- which causes one to dis-regard the entire article. Do you have too much time on your hands??

Guest's picture
Guest

Yes, I agree with you! It is what the cow is being fed and given that affects the milk.

Guest's picture
Guest

The point was that what the cow is fed and exposed to DOES NOT affect the milk. Whether organic or not.

Guest's picture
Siri

Thank you Dan, I was going address the same issue. Drinking milk from cow's which have not been treated with antibiotics is important because it means that the cow's haven't been crammed into tight quarters where diseases can spread rapidly.

Guest's picture
Guest

He'd be better off working for Monsanto. Oh wait, he sounds just like them!

Guest's picture
Guest

I completely agree. I was very annoyed to say the least when reading this. Nothing is added to the end milk product. Organic is how it is grown or raised. Hormones are natural but not when its injected into the cows. Like and being injected with antibiotic medicines, and hormones such as steroid, and thyroid hormones and rBGH

It is similar to Tyson saying "100% natural chicken" and "nothing added" Nothing is added to the final product but they do not say how the chickens are raised and fed, which by no means is healthy or natural

Guest's picture
Guest

That's when I stopped reading!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

I think what Paul is saying is that because no antibiotics from the cow is suppose to make it into the milk, the claims of "no antibiotics" is a bit disingenous. 

"According to the USDA, all milk must be tested to ensure any antibiotics used to treat milk cows are not present in the end product."

Paul Michael's picture

Also, dangerous pesticides is also quesioned by the USDA, as any pesticides used are supposed to be safe anyway. Most of the copy is in fact disingenuous.

Guest's picture
Michelle

is the ingredient in so many organic products that is listed as "organic evaporated cane juice". Like we are so stupid we don't know it's sugar. Uh huh. I still think organic is better overall, however, as we are at least beginning to question agribusiness practices, even if things aren't close to being perfect.

Leo Babauta's picture

Is the same as sugar, but isn't processed. The real difference isn't in the health of it, but the fact that it isn't processed using animal bone char, which is pretty disgusting. I buy raw cane sugar instead of white processed sugar.

Guest's picture
Guest

Wow~ like I didn't have enough to worry about! This is what I have been scrimping for so that my kids can have "organic" milk. Sigh. I think my family will just become vegan. Sigh.

Jessica Okon's picture

(Sorry Jessica, for some reason the code from that Google Video was causing errors for the rest of the site so I had to remove it.  For those of you interested, you can check out Jessica's video here .)

 

Jessica Okon's picture

It is not "Jessica's" video, but one I found & worth a watch.

 Sorry about bringing down the site W!

Guest's picture
Guest

I think you've chosen to take a number of things on the label out-of-context and then comment on them without actual research. I worked for a number of years in natural/organic food retail, and Horizon has a really good reputation.

They don't use antibiotics. They have a commitment to natural healthcare for the animals. They DO let the animals range and forage, which is supplemented with herbivorous organic feed. They do control the sources of food for their animals, owning many of their farms; and have very specific policies and procedures regarding the care of these farms as well as farms they contract with.

They actually have a very informative website

http://www.horizonorganic.com/

which which goes into great detail as to their practices and philosophy. consider checking it out.

and there have been a number of studies which showed that organically grown produce to be higher in nutritional value than commercial products. i'm sure that's easily googled, as well.

stick to the truth - it's out there; and it's not all bad.

Guest's picture
Guest

But the question is whether organically produced milk is significantly different from its inorganic competition.

Guest's picture
Fifth Avenue Edition

I believe there's a difference. I have tried organic milks from 2 different companies and the milk flavor is of higher quality than conventional milk. The expiration dates on the organic milk cartons are often double compared with those of the conventional form. I drink milk more than I use it in cooking or on cereal, so I get the bare flavor. This is why I'm willing to pay a little extra for the organic milk, same goes for organic eggs.

Guest's picture
William

I can't name it right now but the only study I have ever heard of comparing organic produce to traditional produce concluded that there is no reliable nutritional difference between one and the other. It also concluded there was no reliable differences in the trace amounts of pesticides etc in the products. The only glimmer of hope for the organic product fans was that the study found that some organic produce tasted  better, tomatoes and zuchinni being some examples that I remember. Another issue is the effects of chemicals used in farming in the run-off and in the ground water. Pesticides are one example but would there not be bad after effects from organic fertiliser also?

Guest's picture

hi, if you have a healthy well mineralised soil, it also has abundant biota that produce the needed nutrients by breaking the available minerals down for the plant. the typical harsh chemical NPK fertilisers actually kill the soils biota, they just recover- and they apply another dose usually followed by pesticides, which kill not only the tiny biota but the worms, and dung beetles.
Healthy soil that is grown to pasture, grazed briefly and allowed to recover, will have a healthy microcosm of helpers to incorporate the dung quickly right down underneath where the plants can access it, not just the top inch or so , as in commercial no till chem farms case!
A really good explanation of this system is shown in Acres USA, and also on Polyface farms pages i think from memory, I know Acres featured his grazing system as I read the item a while back
IF! all minerals are in balance the fruit crop whatever then has a balanced intake and the produce suffers a huge amount less insect and disease damage. Bugs love sick plants, they are there to remove weak plants, thats their natural function. Ever notice one plant that looks ok to us is savaged to death, yet another just a short space away is left alone.. there is a reason, nature knows better than us! :-)
A really healthy organic product has a surprisingly long shelf/keeping state, compared to the watery, chemical filled commercial stuff.
My apricots can sit on a table for 10+ days and be fine, ones I was given by a neighbour who over watered and used chemicals went rotten around the stone in 2 to 3 days of picking! Thats the difference, oh and taste and scent! commercial has neither!

Guest's picture
D.

I know I'm REALLY late into this conversation, but the bring-home point to this whole article, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that Horizon is being advertised as milk which is produced from grass-fed animals.

That. Is. Pure. Bull.

If they were actually grass-fed animals, we wouldn't have to worry about any of the other stuff except the pesticides, and for those you can thank Monsanto because they're everywhere and no one can stop the air from carrying the residue from pesticides.

There is no such thing as organic anything anymore. It's all been bastardized by Monsanto, et al.

Lynn Truong's picture

i'm pretty sure that all the studies i've heard referenced to are studies where they found significant differences between organically grown and non-organically grown.  the fact is that pesticides kill a lot of good bacteria that helps plants and chemical fertilizers are based on the idea that plants only need 3 basic nutrients to grow (i can't remember which three), but they don't take into account all the other things growing in the soil that all work together.  for example, pesticides kill the bugs that naturally eat the plants.  but plants naturally create defense mechanisms to avoid being eaten.  these defense mechanisms produce certain vitamins and minerals. plants that are grown with pesticides don't need to create these defense mechanisms, therefore, never produce the chemicals/nutrients that our bodies like.  this is what i read from michael pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma, a book he wrote based on much research and has referenced to in the book.

Guest's picture
Guest

Can you site your sources??? I would love to read those articles, because I am researching the whole subject of organic foods(Ihave 3 small children). I would love to know if there is really a difference because we don't have any money to waste, however I do not want to compromise their health either. All the things I have read so far lead me to the conclusion that it does not hurt to go organic, but it is not a significant difference.

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

Thank you for sharing your alternative views. I took your advice and Googled some articles. I found some stuff that you might want to check out:

Is Horizon Organic Truly Organic?

Corporate Greed and Organic Milk

Organic Consumers Association

I don't know much about the OCA. For all I know they could be rival organic farmers looking to start trouble against Walmart. While I wouldn't take OCA's statements at face value, I definitely wouldn't take what HorizonOrganic.com has to say at face value, either.

Guest's picture
Just Another Horizon Milk Drinker

I don't know about you guys, but I don't believe television/news. They tell us what they want us to hear. That's not necessarily the truth. You've given sites to blogs/news articles, but have you gone to a Horizon Farm and seen how it's done around there?

Well if you haven't then how do you know that your information is correct. Maybe everything they say on the label is indeed true and we have a great new milk that's healthy and tasty. (very tasty)

So why don't you take a vacation, go to a Horizon Farm and ask to see how it's done before you make up your mind that Horizon Milk is just a fake alternative to the milk that we digest nowadays, because you might surprise yourself, and I would love to see your blog entry, apologizing to all your readers.

<3 Just Another Horizon Milk Drinker

Paul Michael's picture

Please, don't go to the source of the product for information regarding the reliability of the milk. I'm sure they will always have a glowing story to tell. You may want to check out http://www.stoplabelinglies.com for more information on the deceptive nature of Horizon. I also recently found out that several organic organizations are no longer affilitaing themselves with Horizon. 

Guest's picture
Matt

I'm not sure I really want to trust stoplabelinglies.com . Check out the website of one of the coalition members: http://www.cei.org/. They seem to be another industry front group and hardly impartial. I think there may be better sources for information regarding "organic" labels.

Paul Michael's picture

That is not my only source. I actually have 20-30 different articles on Horizon that I used to write this post. All of them were negative, from a variety of different backgrounds and affilitiatons. I think the main worry is that the large organic organizations are not happy at all with Horizon. 

Guest's picture
Guest

honestly Paul,
I don't have a lot of choices where I live. Horizon tastes so much better than anything else sold here that it really doesn't matter. it is what it is and the Horizon product rocks!

Guest's picture
Caryl

I read your site because I am a mother of 7, and am always on the alert for frugal tips. Our family also produces organic grass fed beef at Alderspring, so I'd like to comment about organic production from an organic producer's POV.

1) Antibiotics: under the organic rule, animals cannot be given antibiotics at any stage. If an animal must be treated with antibiotics, it is removed from organic production. Under commercial production, antibiotic residues do show up in milk. Here is dairy webpage (not a pro-organic one) that discusses the reasons for this:

http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vetext/INF-DA/INF-DA_AntibioticResidues.html

There are other reasons for wanting to avoid antibiotic use in animals, the primary one of which is the loss of antibiotic effectiveness from overuse, which causes the production of "superbugs" or antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Use versus non-use of antibiotics is a substantial difference in organic production, requiring a completely different production paradigm to grow organic that involves a comprehensive health care, immune-building, stress reducing approach. Organic producers use these other approaches because their primary goal is health, not the treatment of disease through antibiotics. You are right that big producers simply ship those sick cows and write off the loss; but small producers like us try very hard to maintain the organic status of each animal because it is profitable and because it is right.

Antibiotic use is not occasional in typical farm production; it is rampant. I'm not sure about the rate in dairies, but in feedlots it is not uncommon to treat 100% of the beef animals with antibiotics.

2) Hormones: Commercial dairies are allowed to use recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) in production, which increases the efficiency of feed conversion to milk, and increases the amount of milk each cow produces; organic dairies are not allowed to use rBGH (similarly, most commercial beef is raised with growth-promoting hormone implants, organic beef is not). The Eastern Union and Canada have both banned rBGH. You can Google rBGH and learn quite a bit.

3) Pesticides, herbicides, etc. Commercial production allows for the use of these chemicals, both directly on the animal (insecticides and parasitides) and on the feed they eat (herbicides for weeds, pesticides for bugs, fertilizers for growth promotion). These are all regulated by the USDA, but as someone that has been involved in agriculture all my life, off-label and mis-label applications occur. In organic production, none of these things are allowed (although I know "cheating" occurs). Neither the animal nor the feedstuffs may be chemically treated under organic production.

Now, that said in support of organic, as an organic producer myself I think Horizon abides by the letter of the law (barely) rather than the spirit. Therein lies the reason for their high shipment/slaughter rates (a local organic dairyman here has an average age of 10 for his cows--more than three times the average age in the typical dairy, either commercial or large-scale organic--because his cows are healthy and long-lived). The access to pasture is a huge and important issue. Horizon primarily produces in big dairies, and the access to pasture is a joke (your squash court example is apt). Many of these dairies are in deserts--they may have access to pasture, but there's not a green blade on them.

Guest's picture
Guest

Now THAT'S an intelligent, well-reasoned post with information I can actually use... TY!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

That is great information that I'm sure will help our readers better understand the issue.

"I think Horizon abides by the letter of the law (barely) rather than the spirit."

Since the "organic" label is so important, do you feel a need to challenge Horizon's practices in order to protect the overall integrity of the "organic" label?

Your cows look great, btw. =)

 

Guest's picture
Caryl

The organic community has done just that, with the Organic Consumer's Association calling for a boycott of Horizon and Aurora Organic. It will get interesting before it gets over.
I would suggest even better than politics, however, is for your readers to search out local producers and forge a long term relationship in sourcing their food. We love it that many people consider us "their rancher." The actual organic certification is less important than keeping small farmers active on the land, which has a number of benefits including preservation of open space, contribution to a local economy, maintenance of families in rural communities, conservation of wildlife habitat, to name a few.
Here are a couple sites to get started:
www.eatwild.com (lists producers of pasture-based protein and dairy by state)
www.localharvest.com (can search by zip code and what you're interested in)
http://www.foodroutes.org/localfood/ (another search by zip site)
You can also google your state name and "local food." A number of states have agriculture department supported sites that list small-scale producers in the state.
With an afternoon and some effort, you could probably source a good portion of your food. You might not save a ton of $$ buying direct from the farmer, but you would be getting a much higher quality product for about the same cost.
A long term relationship also means that the producer will let you know about bargains. For example, I buy organic peaches direct from a grower. He sells them to me at way below regular price because I will take his seconds and the peaches that will not be saleable in another few days. I can for a whole day, and we eat organic peaches all winter. I get my cherries and apples from another orchard (not organic, but minimal spray). They know us by name because we've been picking there for 15 years.

Andrea Karim's picture

Really good of you to take the time and chime in on this topic. We really appreciate it!

Paul Michael's picture

It seems that this word Organic is being treated like a holy relic, when in fact the word has been sadly perverted by large corporations. I remember a story in The Omnivore's Dilemma in which the author wanted a true organic farmer to ship him some produce so he could try it for himself. The farmer said no, explaining that this actually goes against the principles of true organic farming. "If you want some, you'll have to come by my farm and pick some up" and so he did. 

Guest's picture
Guest

If you people only knew the truth. Stop believing everything you read on the internet. The only reason people want to go after Horizon Organic Dairy is because they have become so sucessful. In this day and age it seems you just can't possibly be sucessful without cheating...right? WRONG. I saw it first hand. The cows are put out on pasture every single day. Not just access....out on it! Out grazing and laying down and doing whatever they'd like. People insist on taking pictures of them not on pasture say...on 95 degree hot July days. Would you want to be out on pasture on a hot summer day? I didn't think so. Just as a FYI a cow becomes overheated any temperature over 68 degrees. Hmm. Bet you didn't consider that one. Wouldn't it also be a little ridiculous to say they are constantly hooked up the the milkers? Any dairy farmer knows the best way to be productive is to manage your herd the very best you can. The better you manage your herd...the more milk they produce. The more milk you produce, the more money you make...makes sense to me. Since Horizon Organic cannot use growth horomones to increase milk production there is no way around taking proper care of the cows to produce milk! Think about it. Organic animals are also not shipped off to slaughter if they do become sick. They are treated with NOP approved products first and if that does not work they are then treated with whatever it takes to make them well. They then are tagged as non-organic and sold to live out their lives as a conventional animal. How do I know this? I have a master's in dairy management, a bachelor's in dairy science. I'm a certified organic inspector. I'm a previous employee of Horizon Organic Dairy. I think I know better than any of this false information I read online. Take home message: The milk is safe. The cows are safe and yes...happy. Everything is truely certified organic. No corners were cut, no cover-ups. It is what it is...believe it or not.

Guest's picture

In my opinion "organic" is a rip off.

The term ceased to have meaning once the USDA got involved. The standards for "organic"
have been pushed to the edge of the envelope and benefit the large producer.
Dean Foods is a good example of this principle.

My experience as a small farmer here in Pennsylvania has taught me that “Certified Naturally Grown” is a better way to go for both the producer & the consumer.
Not to mention much cheaper.

The dairy where I buy my raw/real milk is not Organic but is Certified Naturally Grown.

The USDA Certification Organic fees & waiting period was too cost prohibitive for that farm. The restriction of antibiotics was also a problem.

For them it was

“ Paying money to the government to prove I’m doing everything thing right.”

I am a small farmer with sheep and I struggle to KEEP my 6 generation family farm.

I had a very negative and similar experience years ago when I considered going Organic myself.

I was shocked at the level of corruption and cronyism

What is more, I would not subject my animals to often arbitrary and ridiculous regulations.

Sheep are notorious for needing assistance during lambing and at least once or twice every year I have to help out and deliver lambs.

When I insert my hands into a ewe’s uterus to save her life & that of her lambs, she must be covered with an antibiotic or she will die.

I don’t have pockets deep enough to cull every ewe that needs a shot of penicillin.

According to the USDA Organic Standards the ewe I helped is now worth only what she'll bring to me at the sale barn or by private treaty.
Maybe $40 if I'm lucky.

This is a bad situation because the numbers of sheep flocks are down already in the US and don't need any more help from stupid government regulations.
What's more, I own a Certified Scrapie Free flock & that only makes the whole thing more idiotic.
Scrapie is is similar to BSE.
It is imperative that there are safe breeding flocks of sheep in the US.
To cull a young and genetically safe ewe because she needed a shot to save her life is insane.

Food Safety is all about trust and BIG GOVERNMENT has made our food less safe not more safe.

It is very important to know who is feeding you & exactly WHERE your food came from.

Large milk producers most often use co-ops and milk co-op’s are not always a good idea for the consumer or the producer either.

The bottom fell out of the local goat dairy co-op in my area due to gross mismanagement and was a financial disaster for a few of my neighbors. Once again the little producer got screwed.

I think milk Co-ops by their nature are a problem waiting to happen - especially for the hapless Consumer.

When milk is hauled & delivered from 100 different farms and each farm has on average 50 - 200 cows, the chances of bad milk going through the line is dramatically increased.
Smaller & local is much better.

I a negative opinion of Organic because I know better.

Since the USDA has become involved in Organic,the Consumer is less safe not more safe.

Organic is a label that means almost nothing and exists primarily to benefit the big producer.

Paul Michael's picture

I had discovered many similar stories in my research, but the part that blows me away is  how many more animals are culled due to the hypocritical regulations of the USDA, which is really there to serve big business as you so rightly say. Thank you for a very well written comment.

Guest's picture
Guest

Paul i love the topic, as our family using horizon daily ... if your suggested claims are true and you have been working on this for a while according to this blog ... what resolve have you resorted to for your milk? have you found any out there that more than "barely" fit the organic label? i would love to jump on that wagon.

thanks

Guest's picture
Daisy

Horizon is not a good example to be using for your analysis of Organic milk. They do not produce an organic product (contrary to their USDA Organic label). You really need to select a company that is an honest organic producer before you do your analysis. Anyone that supports the organic industry does NOT buy Horizon milk products. Horizon has not been organic since it was sold by the original owner a number of years ago.

Guest's picture
Sunflower

Where do you get your facts my flower friend? Horizon milk is indeed an organic product and uses only organic dairy from small family owned organic farms. Just because it was sold means it abandon its founding principles. Not to mention false advertising and packaging aka lying in a highly regulated industry---not sure if you have heard of the FDA, but they tend to regulate commodity foods such as MILK.
Do your homework Miss Daisy.

Guest's picture
Guest

Whoever wrote this really has no clue what organics are about. Your talking about horizon cows like there is a big factory where they are. Not the case it is many small farms and actually they do graze on green grass from spring until fall. I know this because I pass a organic farm every day on the way to work and alot of time I have to stop for them when they are crossing the raod to a different pasture...you are just a bitter person who knows nothing about researching, and second organics.

Guest's picture
Mark

Why not try finding a local producer of raw milk? Pasteurized milk is dead and useless to the human body. Organic or not you will have no positive effects from any pasteurized dairy products. Raw milk is the only way a human will benefit from the wonders of dairy.
If you are truly concerned, do some research on locally produced raw milk and pick up a bottle to try. You will then forget why you even worried about horizon milk to begin with. You are what you eat... eat dead dairy, become dead.

Guest's picture
Guest

Started off on just regular milk, then I started using the whole foods 365 organic milk and then one day bought Horizon milk because it was on sale. Well, My husband started yelling from the living room asking about the milk. He ask if it was organic and what kind. I said it was Horizon and yes it says orgainic on the box. He said it was the best milk he as ever had in his life and thats all he wants me to buy now. He could tell a difference and I don't know if that difference is good or bad for us health wise. Like is there more fat in it or what. Now I've been finding all this anti-Horizon milk stuff and don't know what to do. I can start buying the 365 milk brand again. Is there any issues with that milk? Please someone let me know!

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Guest

It may be due to the UHT (Ultra-High Temp) process used to pasteurize the milk. Apparently this carmelizes the sugar in the milk and makes it taste sweeter.

Guest's picture
Guest

Horizon milk is the best milk on the market, your husband has great sense of taste.

Guest's picture
S.E.

I found this post after one of my students included a reference. I am sad to say I had to give her a "D."

I cant tell if you are being disingenuous and have an ax to grind or don't know about labeling, contents or English language usage.

On your first set of critiquea:
"As it turns out, antibiotics were never added to milk or were ever present in milk. ....

Similarly, the same can be said of the other claims, regarding pesticides and hormones. First, hormones will always be present in milk; it’s part of the biology of a cow. To call milk ‘hormone-free’ .....

Finally, pesticides. The FTC has ruled that a manufacturer cannot make a "no pesticide" claim as it is untruthful, because pesticides are never added to milk or milk products. ..."

The antibiotics are used as growth factors in cows, not added to the milk. Horizon is stating that their cows are not getting the mass dose of antibiotics that other milk cows are getting. It is a true claim by Horizon and other organic milk producers and the use of mass does of antibiotics as growth factors in livestock is highly controversial.

Hormones. You imply that organic milk producers say their milk is "hormone free". You use quotes. What are you quoting? Nothing Horizon claimed! The issue is mass doses of hormones given to non organic milk cows. These resulting milk from Hormone dosed milk cows is LOWER in omega 3 fats and quite a few nutrients the FDA and many peer reviewed publications consider essential and helpful for human health.

You further claim "growth hormones, again according to the USDA, are only ever approved for beef cattle, plus lamb and veal."

BS BIGTIME on your part. The mass doses of milk production inducing hormones given to non organic cows are not called growth hormones. Growth hormones are given to slaughter destined livestock. Milk production hormones and egg production hormones are given to milk cows and egg production hens respectively!

Lastly on your pesticides claim the issue is whether the cows are eating corn with huge doses of pesticides as are all the non organic milk cows in the US. Have you ever even been near a farm or grain facility? not only is US corn subject to massive doses of pesticides in the field, it is often dosed in storage! That is 90% of what non organic milk cows eat -- one of the most highly pesticide dosed agro procuts there is.

I cannot believe your post, it is wrought with a total hacking of the English language.

Lets be sensible. Lots of organic product shave a negligible advantage but lots of organic products do.

The highest pesticide dosed foods are corn (especially corn destined for livestock -- and nowadays farmed fish), grapes, broccoli, strawberries and leafy vegetables.

One can find sensible tables with amount of pesticide dosing (and as importantly retention and ability to wash off) and price premium for organic. Who you are feeding is also an issue. Milk products are most heavily consumed by children. Children for obvious reason will carry he pesticides with them for longer periods and the usage of pesticides has greatly increased fro when todays adults were children.

If you are 50 years old and eat grapes once a month -- don;t worry if they are organic. If you feed your child grapes twice a week, you should know this is a heavily pesticide dosed product and you should consider organic.

Lastly although I am stunned at your inaccurate screed against Horizon, I would recommend horizon anyway. If you or your children drink a lot of milk you are better off with milk that produced by cows which are grass fed. Again PEER REVIEWED studies show the resulting milk has much more favorable ratios of healthy fats and DHA and ERA

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Guest

Dont be too hard on the nay-sayers. You have to remember the source of their research. They think that looking at blogs and just looking at webpages constitutes research.
Who are the people writing these blogs and pages anyway?
If it is the USDA who cares anyway.
Do you really expect them to promote organic?
Does the FDA promote hollistic meds instead of prescription drugs?

I can tell that you at least know what organic farming is about. Since you are a teacher you know what it is like having students that dont read the assigned material and then trying to argue the points with student that do the work.

I have tried the horizon milk and like it. I like store milk too. I believe that if the milk is actually produced organic then it is healthier.
Whether Horizon actually raises their cows organic I dont know because I havent gone to visit their farms.

I havent decided whether any food labels are actually regulated but it seems that there are a lot of people out there think that whatever a label says must be the truth.

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Guest

It's interesting to me that a "teacher/professor" would be patronizing to someone writing a blog. You seem to indicate you take this approach, and granted a "D" grade to your student because the blogger did not cite his references. Then you proceeded to correct him without citing YOUR references. You are doing nothing more than stating your opinion, the same as this blogger. If you really are a teacher, please back up your information by listing your references, or consider revising the poor grade you seem to have granted your student because they dared disagree with your opinion.

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Guest

Take it easy. The statement was about Horizon Organic PRODUCTS not just the milk. Then, you went on an incredible rant against the labeling on this milk. Slow down and read more carefully.

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Guest

I have been buying Horizons for a year thinking I was giving my child the best Organic milk out there. I pay $4.05 for milk that will last me 4 days max, so I am spending $12.13 on milk for my baby a week. We all know how our economy is faring these days, but money is not the issue. The issue is that I feel like I was lied to and that I could have done better for my child. This truly breaks my heart. Does anyone know an alternative organic milk that I should give my daughter?

Concerned Mommy.

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Guest

jeeeezus... people are such sheep and are eager to believe the worst about something, especially you "Concerned Mommy". Idiot.

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Guest

I have been buying Horizons for a year thinking I was giving my child the best Organic milk out there. I pay $4.05 for milk that will last me 4 days max, so I am spending $12.13 on milk for my baby a week. We all know how our economy is faring these days, but money is not the issue. The issue is that I feel like I was lied to and that I could have done better for my child. This truly breaks my heart. Does anyone know an alternative organic milk that I should give my daughter?

Concerned Mommy.

Guest's picture
Guest

There are several requests in your comments about wanting you to reference your material. By not having your sources listed or article referenced, everything you write is merely your opinion and nothing based on fact. I am not saying you are wrong, but I would like to see your references. What you are writing is useless in my research since there is nothing to back up your statements. Am I just supposed to take your "word" for it that you're right? Sorry, anyone who would read this and base their entire knowledge of organic food/drinks on it would be doing themselves injustice.

Guest's picture
Common Sense

The author of this piece is extremely ignorant, but I am not going to waste my time with a retort.

I do want to take the time to point out that you mothers need to research the organic food industry as much as possible. There are definitely many benefits when it comes to organic vs. conventional. ESPECIALLY for younger children. Pesticides are a lot more dangerous for developing children vs grown adults.

As for Horizon, do your research. This is a company that was inspected by the USDA, and had many violations contradicting their organic claim. The USDA didn't even give them a slap on the wrist.

#1 thing with organic, realize that regulation in the United States is very lax/poor. You have to find brands and farmers that YOU TRUST.

Guest's picture

About two years ago I started buying organic milk for my family after a friend recommended it. At that time, my local grocery (Ralph's) carried only Horizon Organic, so I bought that. I read the carton carefully and was satisfied that I was not only doing something beneficial for my family's health, but also contributing to the general well-being of farm animals and the planet as a whole.

Since I started buying organic dairy, Ralph's has added a number of organic competitors to their shelves. The new brands are less expensive, so I figured they were probably not up to the standards of Horizon. However, one day I decided to do some research. I googled 'best organic milk' and the first link was to a Mother Earth article which pointed to an organic dairy ranking done by an organic watchdog group called The Cornucopia Institute. I was surprised to see Horizon rated with only one cow on a scale of five, and one of the cheaper Ralph's brands, Organic Valley, at 4 cows.

I have spent about 40 hours researching this in the last week and was so riled up about some things that I started my own blog about it.

I have to say that the primary cause of concern for me has not been mentioned anywhere on this page in the article or the comments. My outrage was because Horizon was bought quite some time ago by Dean Foods, a 12-billion dollar dairy processor, THE LARGEST ORGANIC AND CONVENTIONAL MILK PRODUCER ON THE PLANET. So, here's what gets under my skin. Even if Horizon cows were the happiest on earth and their milk was the purest around, by buying Horizon, YOU ARE DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTING TO THE LARGEST PRODUCER OF CONVENTIONAL MILK. If you believe that milk can contain added antibiotics and growth hormones, then it stands to reason that Dean Foods puts more of it out than anyone else. If you believe that conventional factory farms treat their animals inhumanely and unethically, then you must agree that Dean Foods is the worst offender there is.

Organic Valley is known as the only company to ever willingly pull their products out of Walmart. Why did they do this? Because Walmart was increasing their organic shelf-space and Horizon undercut Organic Valley by 15 cents a unit. Organic Valley was offered the same deal but they said no because IN ORDER TO MEET THE DEMAND, THEY WOULD BE FORCED TO START BUYING MILK FROM FACTORY FARMS. To me, this says it all.

Look at my blog. There's some links and pictures. I'm not saying I have all my answers, but I do know for a fact that Horizon is owned by one of the 50 largest food companies in the world.

Thanks,
Jeremy

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Guest

If you live in Cali, try Straus. They don't homogenize their milk, but it's the best I've found. They're also big on the humane treatment of their cows, which is my only concern when purchasing dairy products. Please check out their site for more information. It does cost a lot more, but I find it to be well worth it.

http://www.strausfamilycreamery.com/

Guest's picture
Christian

Thanks for the link to the Straus site. I live in San Diego and was about to look for a local farmer (good luck here, we are almost like LA now).

I just watched the movie The Corporation. I highly recommend it to everyone reading this blog post. The government can't be trusted (i.e. FDA) nor can large corporations. They are concerned about the bottom line and for the most part are on par with psychopath behavior across the board.

WE THE PEOPLE need to stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We are done with the politicians and the weatlhy running the world. They all lie and have hidden agendas.

Guest's picture
Guest

I don't even buy the milk for the organic fact...But the sheer fact that it last upto a month and it the fat free milk tast great. So while I love the taste of it and I love the fact that I am not wasting money on buying milk once a week or so cause regular milk sours so soon.

Guest's picture
Guest

Skim organic milk has better taste and creaminess than regular skim milk, and I am amazed by the expiration dates. They are often more than a month later than when you buy them and they live up to that expectation. Unlike some other milk brands that start to taste gross maybe a week after you buy the it. If you don't go through much milk per month organic milk actually saves you money because you don't have to worry about it going bad.

Guest's picture
Michele J.

I would like to know what your credentials are that give you the ability to write such an article and exactly what kind of research you did? Did you actually go to the Horizon farms to see how the cows lived? What makes you the "know all expert" on Horizon or any other organic product? Do you have a some kind of degree in anti-organic products? Is this a research project? Are you taking things to labs and having them tested? As far as I can see, you are nothing more than another blogger pushing his "opinion" of something on the internet.

I too could create a web page, called it something snappy, and then get on there and blog about how great organic milk and other products are and I would have just as many people believing my opinion as you do yours.

Of all the "Organic" products and companies out there, I believe Horizon and Stonyfield Farms to be the best of the bunch. My family has been to the Stonyfield farm and we have actually taken the tour and witnessed the cows grazing in the fields looking very happy and content. They were not locked in barns or stables staring out at the green pastures as you say they are, they were actually grazing, imagine that! We have also riden by the Horizon Farm on our last vacation but that farm is nothing like you described. Again, cows and chickens roaming free in beautiful green pastures. Perhaps a bit more research on your part before you start spouting out your "facts" and scaring people into drinking that sludge they call regular milk. I personally do not want my 6 year old sprouting breats at age 8 and menstrating at age 9 due to all the steroids given to the cows the produce the "regular milk" you say people should drink. My husband is a teacher in an elementary school and he see's this happen on a daily basis.

Guest's picture
rangerrick160

I would have to agree with Michele. As I read through that ariticle I was not impressed with the lack for creditability. The only fact that seemed to appear in the aritcle was that the author can't play squash with the executives... I found Jeremy Goodells article then later blog. Much better written and fact filled, without any bais.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have horizon in my fridge right now and I really started to question the truth because it is sold in an Albertsons which normally means big business. Thanks for looking into this! Pollans other book, In Defense of Food is a great one too. Keep up the research though, it really is valuable information and hopefully we can continue to make our best efforts to change this system.

Guest's picture
Passingby

First I have to say I came from China where many years ago the milk still taste good. About 20 years ago when I first came to the US, the ordinary milk from super market tasted awful! The about $1 a gallon bottle is nowhere near what I've been used to. Maybe because I never had "reduced-fat" milk before.

Second, the moment when I recall what I used to drink is about 8 years ago the first time I picked up a half gallon Horizon milk at about $2.5. It IS the milk taste I've been looking for years. And I've keep buying them ever since. Now of course at about $4.20 each.

Third, the most dangerous park of lying in milk is the "fat" stuff. The "whole" milk is merely 3% of fat, "reduced" is 2% or 1%. How much difference can that make? But the commercial world makes drinking whole milk sounds like sin.

Fourth, we care what "not" in our food these days, not what's in it these days. The original author somehow mistakenly state the milk was treated with anti-biotic and pesticide, um, why? Even USDA may say they didn't check out any pesticide in other milk, it doesn't mean what's used to be pesticide can't exist in another still harmful form! It is as if to say there is never mercury in our body, but we do have silver tooth filler in our mouth!

Fifth, the most productive cows are not necessarily the most hard working ones! That being said, the fact to know is the most milk productive countries are India, China and US, but the most productive cow is in Israel (said by their government pages). The production is almost double the US' while US' cows produce 1.5X of European's and maybe 2x or more to India and Chinese. So ...

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Guest

I have to let you all know my daughter had eczema as a baby and she drank soy formula. The Pediatrician said she would grow out of it and so as a toddler she could have regular milk. Well as a Toddler she refuse to drink soymilk, so I tried regular milk. everytime she drank milk and ate yogurt she would break out. I tried her with organic milk and no more eczema. I'm not a doc but as a parent, organic milk and yogurt works well for my daughter and I'm sticking with it. I've told several moms who have this problem and have had no complaints. There is something to say about all the pesticides and antibiotics in American food. I don't care what anyone says about gimmick. It works for me.

Guest's picture
Guest

You might want to consider proofreading your publications next time.

I took your article pretty seriously until I became so distracted by your typos that I couldn't even focus on the material.

Guest's picture
Z

I just tried this milk and must say that it is delicious. Also, I have not had any acid reflux in my system and feel good at night when I go to sleep.

Guest's picture
Guest

I know your blog is about a year old, but I wanted to let you know that there is a definition of organic. It can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 7: Agriculture Part 205: National Organic Program. These standards must be followed by anyone using the USDA seal on their products... or else they will pay a hefty fine.

Yes, the livestock section is not where it should be, but in the next few months they are making new 'access to pasture' rules to eliminate companies like Horizon from being called organic.

Guest's picture
jessica

First of all, I would like to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Naro-"horizon milk".

Second, I would like to say that I really liked what Jeremy Goodell-"new comer to the debate" had to say.

Third, I also really liked what the Mother who wrote "what's NOT in the milk matters" had to say.

Really, it's what you WANT to believe. If you WANT to believe that organic is no different than non-organic, than that's your own problem. Organic is not about whether food tastes better or not (although I have heard some people say that it does), it's about whether or not you want yourself, your family, your kids, etc., to consume pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemicals, hormones, food coloring, cancer causing items, every time you, and them, eat and drink. Organic is not just about not allowing pesticides in the food, but it also does not allow certain types of chemicals in the food. Also it does not allow GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in the food-Which is a growing problem.

If you want to go picking on companies who are lying and hiding information from the public, then why don't you find the ones who are actually doing it. Like all the companies who make blue, red, green, and other fake colored jellos, juices, ice-creams, popsicles, sweets, candy, and other things that our kids, and us, eat that contain chemicals that cause cancer, ADD, ADHD, hypertension, and a number of other diseases. And what about all the products containing Splenda (which is not so splendid) and other disease causing artificial sweeteners that we are consuming. It's not just "junk food" that should get all the attention, either. What about crackers, chips, pretzels, snacks, margarines, chocolate, and countless other foods that contain hydrogenated oils??? It's not just lard and animal fat that clogs the arteries. Hydrogenated oils have just as much, if not more, to blame. Hydrogenated oils are silent invitations for heart attacks and strokes. And everyone is a victim unless we start reading labels and raising awareness.

People think that the FDA is there to protect us from harmful things in our food and water supply. People think that if there's something bad in our food that the President is going to make a public announcement about it and immediately put a stop to it. But, unfortunately, we couldn't be more wrong. The FDA doesn't care about our health and wellbeing. They just care about saving their own butts if something goes wrong and they are to blame. If they really cared, then there wouldn't be anymore sicknesses and diseases. Why??? Because. There wouldn't be anything bad in our food, water, air, enviroment, and everyday living.

And if people really want to make a difference in food and food production and standards, then let's hear your voice, because it's the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.

It makes me sick when people try to "put down" GOOD things for us and the environment, like organic and non-GMO.

Places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's move into to small neighborhoods and take over and are the reason why some small family owned health food stores have to close down. Stores that were actually making a difference in the community and the world. These big chain stores are not all what thy are made out to be. If they were, then they wouldn't get there yards treated with chemicals, or use blue chemical sprays to clean their windows, or get the inside sprayed with pesticides for pest control. If they're selling organic produce but spraying their grass . . . somehow that doesn't make sense to me.

And to all the Moms out there who don't know whether to buy organic or not, do your research . . . and you will see, no matter how much it may cost, it is well worth it. And don't let anyone tell you different.

Guest's picture
Jenny

If organic isn't REALLY organic, then why does the mlilk taste better? I've recently switched to organic milk because I did a comparison and noticed a significant differnce in taste. Also, when you leave it out of the fridge for awhile, it doesn't get the same off-taste as other milk. Why is that?

Guest's picture
Guest

It's so sad American's been eating junk for too long to know what's good. I am from China, while China is even worse in many ways now, my parents' gen still remember how good things tastes when they were farmed/raised the "old ways" (organic, likely higher standard than USDA ones, since in China you don't even have anti biotic, hormones etcs, back in 60s and 70s) tasted so much better. And a recent trip to a remote mountain area with people who still farm the old way, everything from veggie to chicken to pork, they all taste better. I don't need researcher to tell me if there is a difference or which one is better, a real organic farmed product is far superior. Now the question is how good is USDA's standard?

Guest's picture
Guest

Can I see your sources for this please? I'm trying to find the right kind of milk, and I want to support organics but I don't have access to any local family dairy farms most of the year, so storebought organic is the best I can do but I'd like to investigate the issue as well.

“…they are produced without the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones or dangerous pesticides."

Hm... it doesn't say "hormone free" though, right? It says no "added growth hormones" which means that cows weren't given additional steriods, I'm assuming. I think they're refering to what the cows are treated with, not the milk itself. It's a difficult statement to pick apart through since obviously it hasn't provided every detail.

The claim about pesticides also can't apply to milk, obviously. But what I assume they're referring to is the grass and grain that is consumed by the cattle. Most of the damage done to the environment by the farming industry isn't just by the fossil fuels used or from the actual animals, but from the growing of crops with huge amounts of pesticides running off into the water. Again, the statement is brief and obscure, but I highly doubt they intended to make anyone believe that "no pesticides" applies to the milk itself.

“We allow our cows to make milk according to their natural cycle and keep them in good health by giving them certified organic feed, fresh air and access to pasture.”

I think that's another claim we can't make judgements about just by reading the label. However, most "non-organic" factory-farmed animals never even get fresh air. It's better to support animals who have "access" to a pasture, even if it's limited, than ones that never see a field in their lives, because I know there are definitely farms out there that keep animals in cages for the entirety of their lives.

Every once in a while I'll get a carton of Horizon, and sometimes my family won't even drink it because they think it "tastes like grass." It's easy for me to believe just from the taste that the cows have a better diet than generic store-brand milk, and I prefer Horizon over "regular" milk. Nature's Promise doesn't taste like genuine organic milk to me, honestly.

A huge difference between Horizon and generic milk that I have noticed is that organic milk literally lasts for a month and a half, whereas generic expires in a week. This has something to say about the distance organic milk is shippped, but I also discovered that UHT pasteurization is required for organic milk because no antibiotics are used, which is apparently much more expensive than antibiotics, which is why generic milk can manage to be so cheap. So I think there is definitely a difference between the "regular" product and the organic one, in that sense.

So the taste and the "shelf life" or the Horizon product definitely sets it apart from a generic product, I think. It it still safe to say that it's a rip-off if it's more than just the label telling us this milk is different?

Guest's picture
Guest

Your article shows that you are completely ignorant about gardening, farming, and animal husbandry. If you think that vegetables and fruit sprayed with pesticides are just as healthful as organic, dig in. If you want to drink milk from cows that have been shot up with antibiotics and added hormones, and actually believe that this does not affect the chemistry of the milk more power to you. I suggest you purchase milk and fruit juice imported from China, It is inexpensive.

Guest's picture

Horizon Organic milk company is misleading consumers and dealing unethically with producers. They claim to get their milk from small, family-owned farms when they are actually driving these exact farms out of business. Horizon is not honoring contracts with small farmers, but instead getting their milk from their OWN company mega-dairy. They are misleading consumers by stating, on their website and in their literature, that they are comprised of small family dairies, when in fact, much of their milk comes from dairies with more than 500 cows.

One dairyman, Mr. Don Halverson, the owner of a small 50-cow dairy in Idaho, has shared his story of Horizon committing verbally to take his milk once he completed the expensive organic certification process, only to refuse to honor that agreement after he'd invested the thousands of dollars and time required.

You can get the full story and Mr. Halversons statement at:
http://sites.google.com/site/integrityinbusiness/

Guest's picture
DK

Here's something you can try to see for your own eyes that Horizon Organic is not as corrupt as this guy wants you to believe. Go and buy some regular eggs, the kind you usually get. At the same time get a pack of Horizon Organic eggs. Crack one of each into a stainless steel bowl and you will see that the difference is clear, literally. The whites of the conventional egg appear cloudy next to the transparent whites of the Horizon Organic egg. In addition the yolks of the Horizon Organic eggs are larger and a more golden yellow. Cook them up and do a taste test, that will seal the deal.

I also think that the milk tastes better, more like fresh farm milk. Of course you can't see the difference in milk like you can in eggs.

I dare Paul Michael to try this test. I also dare him to go to the Horizon Organic dairies and take pictures of these horrible places if he wants us to believe that they are so bad. I want evidence, not a load of cow manure!

Everyone please remember, just because you read it on some guys blog doesn't make it true. Do your own research and look for *at least* one source that isn't on the internet.

Guest's picture
Guest

There are quite a few "facts" from this article that get under my skin, but I will address only the first for time's sake (and since I think other commenters also addressed them).
"antibiotic, hormone and pesticide free" = does not mean that these are absent from milk... well duh. I think most of us should know this. What Horizon means by this phrase is that they add NONE of this to their milk process. They refrain from the overuse of antibiotics, which are so overused that we are seeing many problems with antibiotic resistance. They also refrain from pumping their cows with hormones. We get hormones from so many other foods that I feel comfort in this fact. Now of course there are some hormones in the milk, after all it does come from a living being, but the fact that additional growing hormones are not added is a comfort to me. And finally the fact that they do not use pesticides does not refer to other milk manufacturers adding pesticides to their milk, of course not. This refers to feeding the cows feed that was not grown with the use of pesticides. This is again comforting to me since pesticides can be inadvertently consumed by cows and end up in their milk.
These are just a few of the ridiculous claims twisted by this article.
Where did this guy get his information from? I am thinking he just made it up for the a good media scare...

Guest's picture
Guest

where are your resources coming from??

Guest's picture
Rock Lee

Yeah so I mean you really can't say all these comments because.....well you never visited a Horizon farm......Am i right? Personally I think Horizon milk tastes better than all other milk because it tastes like a milkshake. So to tell you the truth I really don't care what all your damn PETA/Greenpeace propaganda says cuz you guys are total nuts. I only care that the cows don't fart too much and contribute to all the CO2 emissions because I live on an expensive waterfront property and recently the water level has been noticeably rising a lot more than usual so its got me really pump up with the environmental movement so that I can save my house from going under water. This is a tribute to the best tasting milk on the planet. Go Horizon! You Rock!

My name is Rock Lee Taijutsu Master and I approve this message

PS dude from the way you write its almost as if you graduated from like a state university. You should have gone to a liberal Arts college like me. I went to Bowdoin and got a great liberal Arts education. Go Polar Bears!
And remember man I respect your comments so please respect mine. 1st amendment protects my freedom of speech. Thank you.

Guest's picture
Mo

Yo Chingy Chang. You guys kill tigers and eat their dicks you even pay $10,000 just to eat a tiger cock. I don't think you have any liberty in talking about somthing like milk when the top 10 dirtiest cities are all Chinese cities.

MO

Please Join the anti China-Free Tibet and Taiwan Movement. Also Please Join the peaceful Falun Gong Movement.
Thank You for your time. And as the guy above said the first amendment protects my speech.

Guest's picture
Guest

Interesting article. I've heard not so great things about the big "organic" companies before. I just started buying Horizon organic milk last week to see how different it tasted from regular milk. And wow. It tastes way different. This is coming from someone who is hypersensitive to water tastes and milk tastes. A few years ago when I drank local, grass-fed, organic cow milk it was phenomenal! I could actually taste the grass.
So, what I'm saying is that even if a lot of Horizon's claims are false, as you say, their milk sure tastes a heck of a lot better than the regular milk. The only question is whether I want to pay extra for the taste...

Guest's picture
Sunny

you do realize that the "no hormones" means that the cows do not receive hormones...right?

that is all based on the idea that cows are given hormones to make them produce an unnatural amount of milk.

I would think that's pretty obvious...but apparently not. this is a pretty ridiculous and misinformed blog.

Guest's picture
Rudy

Organic milk and foods taste way better without a doubt, because you aren't tasting all of the pesticides and hormones and antibiotics you get eating conventional food.

Get the best of both worlds...drink organic milk, but don't support Dean Foods. ORGANIC VALLEY is the way to go! Small family farms not large corporate owned farms. Still the great tasting organic milk!

Guest's picture

One big advantage of living rural is that you can buy milk from local dairy farms. For example, I buy from Picket Fences Creamery in central Iowa, just a few miles from my home. You can go over there, pet the cows, see what they eat and how they're treated, and even watch them getting milked. I've eaten and had conversations with the farmer that produces the milk I drink.

I will happily pay a nice premium for that kind of relationship with my milk provider.

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Guest

Funny how no one on here has mentioned the movie "Food, Inc." It's a must-see for people who are concerned about what they're eating.

I completely agree with the person who posted about dead milk. If anyone here thinks that organic, ultra-pasteurized milk is nutricious, then they have some reading to do. While organic milk is a lesser evil than non-organic, the real problem is the pasteurization process that renders the milk completely unhealthy and difficult to digest. It kills the nutrients as well as the bacteria, which were (when pasteurization became the law)and are the real targets. The law in New York State (where I live...but this probably applies in many other states) mandates that no unpasteurized (raw) milk can be sold at a farm for human consumption (or it can be but only if the buyer brings own containers). This is completely outdated legislation put on the books before there was refrigeration (and likely the USDA).

If you support the idea of organic, minimally-processed or otherwise "unconventional" foods, buy them. Support those companies! Make the demand grow and squeeze conglomerates like Dean Foods out or have a hand in making them change their ways. It is possible if enough people get with the program.

If you support raw milk, petition your state legislators on this issue. There are movements to abolish this kind of legislature; join them!

Buy local, support the small guys who need their farms to make a living and who need to make a living to keep their farms. Whatever the argument about Horizon, for me the bottom line is that every Horizon purchase supports Dean Foods. I will NOT do that. Remember, every purchase we make is a small voting booth and we choose what goes on the shelves. We cannot blame the USDA and corporations for exploiting our apathy and ignorance; we can blame only ourselves.

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S. K-U

I'm quite disillusioned with the content of these posts. I had hoped to find independent research on Horizon when I saw this link. However, what I have found is nothing more than opinion--woefully unresearched, pre-biased thoughts on a commercial enterprise.

Recently I was doing research on Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Apparently Ebola is a Zionist conspiracy against the Aryan Nation. Do you believe this? Of course not. Yet the way those psuedo-scientific papers were written was exactly the way these posts were written. Yes, I am comparing you to neo-nazis. Not because I believe you are evil, but because brainwashing is brainwashing, no matter what the content. And frankly, when you believe something so stridently, yet can't verify those beliefs with any outside party, you are brainwashed.

I'm not saying these things for the shock value. I'm saying it because I too am a teacher and am upset that so many people are running around without thinking. Those of you who believed this post despite the absence of facts...shame on you. Didn't you ever take a research class? Didn't you ever apply critical thinking skills? Do you believe everything you read online? No. The Aryan's aren't believable to you but this tirade is?

Please people, leave the regurgitated drivel to the neo-nazis, and do some thinking of your own for a change.

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Sam

Seriously, I am not nor have I ever been one of those people who insist on buying organic foods. I bought this milk once because it was on sale and had the latest expiration date on it when compared to the other brands. I always used to throw out some milk in the box because it would expire... however, Horizon's expiry date was typically 3 to 4 weeks out from the day I would purchase it (I suppose that depends highly on the supermarket you shop, because when I moved the best I could find was two weeks out). Regardless, I could actually use the mild for 3 to 5 days AFTER the expiry date. Who can say the same for "regular" milk? Clearly Horizon is doing something right to get the milk to taste fresh for so long. It tastes good and lasts long enough for me to stop wasting money throwing milk in the garbage. I highly recommend it.

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Guest

I feel cheated of my time. My son was having a hard time with regular 2% milk. I tried Horizon and it made my fussy baby not so fussy. Something was odviously missing from horizon. I talked to his doctor and he said that Horizon dosen't have a lot of the chemicals that regular milk has. It makes my son happy and he drinks it like there is no tomorrow. OBTW, USDA and the FDA do not certify everything on the shelves whether it be American made or not. Read some other labels and you will see.

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Jeanne Tognetti

I recently learned of Horizon's policy not to buy products from farmers who raise or breed dogs inhumanely. I fully support and commend Horizon and Whole Foods for all their efforts on behalf of the animals. I am spreading the word to my friends.
Keep up the good work. I fully support this company.

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Guest

The difference in taste is obvious between my daughter's horizon organic milk and non-organic milk but i really hope horizon's milk truly is organic, or at least what i have stored in my fridge, because i just bought another two half-gallons of it. Either way i'm switching brands.

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LindainCO

I agree that Horizon tastes better. This is 2014, and I think that Horizon has "cleaned up" some of their issues:

http://www.horizondairy.com/wp-content/themes/horizon/pdf/HO_Standards_o...

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Guest

I read all your posts/comments because I care about Organic Milk. I have a 1 year old baby and I have been giving her Horizon Milk for a month now. All I want to know is am I giving her the right brand - Horizon??? Is it safe for my baby?

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Guest

I think that you dont know what your talking about. Have you ever actually been to Horizon farms? They probably do let their cows out in the grass. Why else would they have all that land? And they didnt say that it was hormone free, they said that there were no ADDED growth hormones. So the next time you post a negative blog, get your facts straight plz. Thank you :)

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Guest

I really hope that all of you are putting some brain in to this. People! When you are breast feeding a child, you try your best to not take any antibiotics, you eat healthy and peruse through the labels of everything you consume. SO it really does matter what the cow eats, and if it is on drugs and what else is going on with it. And by the way, the FDA officially allows 1 ounce of pus cells to be present in every 30 ounces of milk...so all those trying to save a buck...save your health first!