Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Organic Watchdog Group Takes on Target Store Brands

Target' Corp. is being accused by U.S. organic farming group, The Cornucopia Institute, for alleged misleading consumers into thinking some conventional food items it sells are organic.The institute -- which filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's organic program, and Wisconsin and Minnesota officials -- claims corporate agribusiness and major retailers are "blurring the line" between "natural" products and organic food that has been grown, processed and properly certified, according to a report in

Target's nationally advertised Silk soymilk, manufactured by Dean Foods, is at the center of the controversy because the word "organic" appears on the carton Cornucopia asserts that Dean Foods has moved away from organic production.Additionally, Target's Archer Farms private label brand also is under the microscope. Cornucopia claims the brand blurs the line by selling food that is labeled both natural and organic. Aurora Dairy, Target's organic milk supplier, is also accused of "flagrantly violating" federal organic livestock standards.

In 2006, Wal-Mart was accused by the institute of illegally touting non-organic food products as organic, according to the report. "Major food processors have recognized the meteoric rise of the organic industry, and profit potential, and want to create what is in essence 'organic light,' taking advantage of the market cachet but not being willing to do the heavy lifting required to earn the valuable USDA organic seal," said Mark Kastel, senior farm policy analyst at Cornucopia.Officials at Target and Dean Foods could not be reached by Just-food for comment.




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