A Whole Systems Approach
When you purchas a pound of butter or a quart of yogurt labeled as USDA Organic, you're getting a healthful, premium product that you can feel good about serving to your family. But you're also supporting a system of agriculture that is environmentally sound, and which assures the health and future productivity of both animals and land.
A gallon of certified organic milk reflects the farm on which it was produced. The dairy cows on that farm were:
- Fed organic feed raised on land certified as meeting national organic growing standards;
- Raised in conditions which limit stress and promote health;
- Cared for as individuals by dairy professionals who value animal health;
- Not given routine treatments of antibiotics or growth hormones.
WHEN YOU PURCHASE an organic product, you're supporting organic agriculture, a production method which strives to maintain biological diversity while replenishing soil fertility and eliminating the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Because the husbandry practices used by organic farmers require a level of attentiveness and care incompatible with industrialized dairy operations, you're also supporting farmers who work with the health of their animals in mind.
ORGANIC GROWING AND PROCESSING methods for products sold in the United States are regulated by national organic standards, fully implemented since October 2002. In Canada, national standards currently are voluntary, although work is under way for a mandatory regulation. Third-party certification of organic farms guarantees that any product that is labeled as "organic" in the United States meets or exceeds these stringent criteria:
- No prohibited substances have been used on the land for at least three years.
- Detailed records have been kept of the methods and materials used in production.
- All methods and materials have been inspected annually by a third-party certifier accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- All farmers and processors have maintained written Organic Plans detailing their management practices.
You're supporting farmers who work with the health of the earth in mind
FOR ORGANIC DAIRY FARMERS, certification requirements include very specific standards addressing the introduction of new animals to a herd, veterinary practices, and housing and grazing. Even the handling of manure on an organic farm is regulated to ensure that run-off is not polluting aquifers or waterways. Organic standards also cover processing and packaging of the final product.
A Diversity of Products
ORGANIC DAIRY is a fast-growing segment of the organic food industry. Overall, the organic market for organic dairy products has shown a growth rate of 20-30 percent over the past few years. An increase in the number of organic processing facilities has contributed to a greater variety of organic products to choose from in the marketplace.
Today, certified organic dairy products include:
- Organic milk
- Organic cream
- Organic half 'n half
- Organic cheeses and spreads
- Organic butter
- Organic powdered milk and cheese
- Organic ice cream
- Organic buttermilk
- Organic yogurt.
ORGANIC DAIRY products are also used as ingredients in a diverse array of products, such as organic frozen and convenience foods, organic chocolate bars and organic baby food.
When you buy certified organic products...
YOU'RE SUPPORTING organic farmers who practice environmentally sound methods on crop and pasture lands, in the handling and health care of farm animals, and in the handling of the produce or minimally processed dairy product that finds its way to your table.
YOU'RE SUPPORTING organic processors who follow stringent standards in handling and processing the organic ingredients that go into the finished products and convenience foods that make your life easier.
THE ORGANIC INDUSTRY is growing because organic is a better way to grow. Support organic farmers and processors whenever you can by purchasing organic foods carrying the USDA Organic label.
To learn more about organic production and the organic business community, visit www.ota.com.
Ask for organic dairy products wherever you buy milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream and other products with dairy ingredients:
Natural food stores
Health food stores
If the store or restaurant doesn't offer organic products, your inquiry may put organic dairy items on the shelf or on the menu.
Organic Trade Association: Working for an Organic Future
The mission of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. OTA envisions organic products becoming a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people's lives and the environment. As a membership-based business association, OTA focuses on the organic business community in North America. OTA's approximately 1,700 members include farmers, processors, importers, exporters, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and more. For further information, visit OTA's web site at www.ota.com.