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Growing demand tests organic standards

Signs hang in organic food aisle of the Shop & Save Market grocery in Des Plaines, Ill.

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Organic dairy products used to be a niche industry. But it's so niche-y anymore, they're more mainstream and that could be a problem specialty dairies like Horizon. Sam Eaton reports from our Sustainability Desk.


SAM EATON: The company says it will likely need to ration shipments of its organic milk this winter as demand continues to outstrip supply.

Much of that demand is coming from large, new clients like Wal-Mart.

But many consumer groups and organic grocery chains like PCC are questioning whether organic standards can survive the transition to industrial scale production.

PCC spokeswoman Trudie Bialic:

TRUDIE BIALIC: Organic foods have gotten the attention of the mainstream food industry. I think this is a natural reaction to where the marketplace is shifting.

Bialic and others claim that in the case of Horizon that shift has resulted in skirting the standards for organic food, specifically the amount of grazing time dairy cows are given.

Horizon says the allegations against it are without merit.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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