An interesting sidebar in our “Is Your Milk Spoiling Faster?” discussion is why does most organic milk stay fresher longer? It’s not because the cows are free of bovine-growth-hormone and the commune-members sing them lullabies every night.
I hosted a shrinking product chat over at WashingtonPost.com this morning and an interesting comment from someone in New Orleans came up about milk going bad:
Pretend you’re a manager at Ralph’s and you notice two-inches of milk missing from one of your half-gallon milk containers. What do you do?
Wal-Mart and Costco have something new they’d like you to try— a square milk jug. The NYT says the new square jugs “are cheaper to ship and better for the environment, the milk is fresher when it arrives in stores, and it costs less.” So what’s the catch? Apparently, while the new jugs are helping cut costs, they kind of suck at pouring milk.
Sorry New Yorkers, but according to the City Council, you’re overpaying for both rent and milk. Anyone charging more than $3.93 for a gallon—86% of the city’s milk sellers, from bodegas to Whole Foods—is violating the state’s milk price-gouging law.
With gas prices topping $4.00 a gallon in Chicago, Chicagoist started wondering how much gallons of other liquids cost. Turns out gas is still cheaper than the Champagne of Beers…
Monsanto failed to get the FDA to ban “rBGH-free” labeling nationally, and it’s had mixed success at the state level. Now the company and its gang of ethics-free dairy farmers (those are the ones who use rBGH to increase profits, but want that truth kept out of the marketplace because it’s unpopular with consumers) have scored a significant win in Ohio this week. Yesterday the state passed a law that forces extra, rBGH-friendly fine print on every milk label that promotes itself as “rBGH-free.” The goal of the ruling: to require expensive label redesigns on competitors, and to crowd the label with unnecessary fine print in order to dilute the marketing power of the “rBGH-free” label.
An astroturfing group started by chemical supergiant Monsanto is trying to stop the spread of milk that’s free of bovine synthetic growth hormone. They say they’re trying to defend farmer’s rights but they can’t fool us, we know they really just want to make the future safe for large breasts. [NYT]
Monsanto continues its attempts to hide the basic facts of food production from consumers, this time in Kansas. The Kansas Dairy Association, along with a suspicious “grassroots” dairy group that has the same public relations firm as Monsanto, has helped introduce a bill to the state Senate that would ban “growth hormone-free” milk labels. The bill’s supporters argue that growth hormone can’t be found in lab tests, and if a lab can’t verify it, consumers don’t need to be told about it.
Other countries cut down on the amount of plastic used to package milk by buying it in big plastic bags and storing it in a reusable milk pitcher in the fridge.
Starbucks made the switch to recombinant bovine growth hormone-free milk and are taking organic milk off the menu in all of their stores, effective Feb. 26.
State health authorities tonight urged consumers not to drink milk produced by Whittier Farms in Shrewsbury after an investigation showed it is the likely source of a bacterial illness that killed two elderly men and made two other people sick.
California dairies are bristling under regulations that limit the amount of yucky coliform bacteria allowed in raw milk. The new health standards set a maximum of 10 coliforms per milliliter, which upsets Mark McAfee, the founder of California’s largest raw milk dairy. According to McAfee, “There’s quite a ruckus right now.” Let’s see how he frames the issue.
Consumer Reports says that “without warning or public discussion” 19 dairies in Pennsylvania were notified that their labels were “false or misleading and need to be changed.” What did the labels say?
Consumers in twenty-seven states are suing Aurora Dairy, the nation’s largest organic dairy for selling milk that failed to meet basic organic standards. The suit is bolstered by findings from USDA inspectors, who found that between December 2003 and April 2007, Aurora: “labeled and represented milk as organically produced, when such milk was not produced and handled in accordance with the National Organic Program regulations.”
Wired talks to farmers who own cloned livestock and dairy cows—2nd and 3rd iterations of valuable original “models.” The FDA hasn’t officially approved cloned meat and milk for supermarkets yet, though, and lots of consumers still freak out. (Did you when you read that first sentence?) [Wired]
By the end of this year, Starbucks will no longer serve dairy products that contain Posilac, aka rBGH or rbST, the growth hormone manufactured by Monsanto, says a Reuters article. The company was already well on its way to cutting rBGH out of its menu—as of last month, 72% of their dairy comes from rBGH-free suppliers. According to a letter sent by Starbucks to Food & Water Watch (which has heavily campaigned against the synthetic hormone), “By December 31, 2007, all of our fluid milk, half and half, whipping cream and eggnog used in U.S. company-operated stores will be produced without the use of rBGH.”
If you’re going to pay twice as much for milk because you like the idea that the cows have a yard to play in—that’s your business—but you’d better be getting what you pay for.