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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Aurora' Category


Risk Assessment Flaw Downplays Insecticide’s Link to Bee Kills

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2010) A new study shows that due to a flaw in standard risk assessments, which consider toxic effects at fixed exposure times, the risks posed by the neonicotinoid pesticides imidacloprid and thiacloprid are likely to be underestimated. The authors believe that minute quantities of imidicloprid may be playing a much larger role in killing bees over extended periods of time than previously thought. The study, “The significance of the Druckrey—KĂĽpfmĂĽller equation for risk assessment””The toxicity of neonicotinoid insecticides to arthropods is reinforced by exposure time,” was published online July 23, 2010 in the journal Toxicology. The authors believe that standard risk assessment calculations underestimate toxicity because they do not accurately account for the interplay of time and level of exposure. According the study: The essence of the Druckrey—KĂĽpfmĂĽller equation states that the total dose required to produce the same effect decreases with decreasing exposure levels, even though the exposure times required to produce the same effect increase with decreasing exposure levels. Druckrey and KĂĽpfmĂĽller inferred that if both receptor binding and the effect are irreversible, exposure time would reinforce the effect. The Druckrey—KĂĽpfmĂĽller equation explains why toxicity may occur after prolonged exposure to very low toxicant […]



Organic Trade Group Opposes Legal Challenge Following Large Organic Dairy Violations

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2009) Two powerful lobby groups in the food industry, the Grocery Manufacturers of America and the Organic Trade Association, recently intervened as friends of the court in a federal consumer class-action lawsuit accusing the nation’s largest supplier of private-label organic milk of consumer fraud. In what has been described as “the largest scandal in the history of the organic industry” USDA investigators, in 2007, found that Aurora Dairy had willfully violated federal organic standards. However, industry lobbyists are now concerned that convicting Aurora will set a dangerous legal precedent. Aurora bottles private-label organic milk for Wal-Mart, Costco, Target, Safeway and many other grocery chains. In August 2007, Bush administration officials were widely criticized for overruling career staff at the USDA and instead of decertifying Aurora as staff had recommended, banning it from organic commerce, the corporate dairy was allowed to continue in business under a one-year probation. Now agribusiness lobbyists are concerned that citizens prevailing in court, alleging fraud, will set a precedent necessitating large corporations to incur added expenses to more carefully check the sources and credibility of their organic suppliers. “Due diligence by food manufacturers and retailers is the heart and soul of what […]



Controversy Surrounds Aurora Again

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2007) Aurora Organic Dairy, found earlier this year by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be in “willful” violation of organic standards, is once again the subject of claims made by the Cornucopia Institute. In its findings, USDA had announced that Aurora “labeled and represented milk as organically produced, when such milk was not produced and handled in accordance with the National Organic Program [NOP] regulations.” As a result of this report, Cornucopia, whose research and original complaint initiated USDA’s investigation, has brought class action suits in Denver, St. Louis, and federal courts, which allege “consumer fraud, negligence, and unjust enrichment concerning the sale of organic milk by the company. “The basis of Cornucopia’s suit centers around milk sold before USDA’s organic certifier, Quality Assurance International (QAI), filed a notice of the violations found. Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel argued that the milk sold in the more than three years prior to QAI’s findings hurt smaller players in the organic industry, as well as consumers. “Aurora’s actions have injured the reputation of more than 1,500 legitimate organic dairy farmers who are faithfully following federal organic rules and regulations,” he said. “We cannot allow these families to […]



USDA and Aurora Organic Dairy Reach Agreement

(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2007) The United States Department of Agriculture and Aurora Organic Dairy have reached an agreement stemming from complaints brought by the Cornucopia Institute. While Aurora called USDA’s decision a “dismissal”, the department did find that the dairy did not provide enough pasture for its milking cows and that not all cows could be proven to have been raised organically. As part of its agreement with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Aurora will thin its herd at its Platteville, Colorado dairy from 2,200 to 1,250 and increase its organic pasture from 325 acres to 400. Rather than alter operations at another Colorado facility, Aurora has agreed not to renew its organic certification there. USDA will also monitor the company more closely, and violations during its one-year probationary period could threaten Aurora’s organic certification. “The organic industry is booming, and the National Organic Program is a high priority for USDA,” said Bruce I. Knight, under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, “and through this consent agreement consumers can be assured that milk labeled as organic in the supermarket is indeed organic.” Cornucopia was particularly critical of the positive spin put on the settlement in USDA’s decision and Aurora’s […]



Aurora Organic Dairy May Lose USDA Organic Certification

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2007) Last week, The Cornucopia Institute announced that Aurora Organic Dairy, one of the largest organic dairies in the United States, could soon lose its organic certification. Based on a private investigation as well as United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) documents, Cornucopia claims the industry giant does not comply with organic regulations regarding pasture grazing and cattle procurement. Aurora has 12,000 milking cows on five farms in Colorado and Texas. The company claims that the cows have access to 5,700 acres of organic pasture land across those farms, and that all cows graze for at least 120 days per year. Among the brands Aurora supplies organic dairy products for are Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, Wild Oats, Trader Joes, and other grocery chains. According to Cornucopia’s senior farm policy analyst Mark Kastel, “After personally inspecting some of Aurora’s dairies in Texas and Colorado, we found 98 percent of their cattle in feedlots instead of grazing on pasture as the law requires.” While USDA’s investigation is ongoing, Cornucopia expects to hear of other missteps. “Our sources tell us that the USDA’s investigators found many other violations when conducting their probe of Aurora,” said Mr. Kastel. Cornucopia’s original […]