Carol Ness in the SF Chronicle has a good follow-up to our breaking story yesterday about the Vander Eyk dairy being stripped of organic certification in California. This is a very significant enforcement action in the organic world, though it begs a few questions.
- Why did QAI certify the confinement dairy in the first place? Did it ever meet the organic regulation?
- Will this signal a trend or aberration?
- Will this mega-farm be able to get recertified?
If confinement dairy practices aren't corrected, then the next phase will be to design an additional label for organic milk that truly reflects organic practices such as pasturing - a prospect that is now being floated. That would be a shame and a cause of additional consumer confusion but that will happen if the USDA's National Organic Program does not move forward with a pasture rule that would outlaw these kind of operations.