OpEdNews.com, Feb. 25, 2011
A prominent organic industry watchdog filed a formal legal complaint today alleging that a newly introduced product, by the giant dairy conglomerate Dean Foods, includes a synthetic nutritional oil that is prohibited in organics.
The product, Horizon Fat-Free Milk Plus DHA Omega-3, bears the USDA organic seal despite a ruling in 2010 by the USDA that the proprietary DHA oil, an ingredient derived from algae, is not legal in organic production.
“This is a willful and flagrant violation of the law governing organic foods,” states Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group.
Due to its past unauthorized use, federal regulators recently issued a statement confirming that adding these synthetic oils violates the Organic Foods Production Act. “It is therefore absolutely baffling that Dean Foods would introduce a product with synthetic DHA and have the audacity to label it organic, and it’s even more disturbing that their certifier would allow this,” said Charlotte Vallaeys, a Farm and Food Policy Analyst with The Cornucopia Institute.
In addition to Dean Foods, a few other food processors and several infant formula manufacturers have included the synthetic additive, manufactured by Martek Biosciences Corporation, in organic products, despite their lack of approval.
From documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Cornucopia discovered that the USDA, under the Bush Administration, had informally allowed the additives in organic foods after a backroom deal with corporate lobbyists.