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Community Consumer Alerts The Organic Watergate: Cornucopia Institute discovers synthetic ingredients allowed in organic dairy
The Organic Watergate: Cornucopia Institute discovers synthetic ingredients allowed in organic dairy PDF Print E-mail

Our public consciousness has been nearly saturated with talk of the importance of omega -3 fatty acids in our diets. These essential fats, comprised of DHA and ARA, occur naturally in cold water fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, tofu and more. Due to profit-based scientific research, most of the focus on omega -3 supplements has been on just DHA, since that is what scientists have been able to successfully replicate in a lab.


This June, the organic watchdog Cornucopia Institute, reported that Horizon, a division of the largest dairy processor in the U.S., Dean Foods, jumped on the omega-3 bandwagon and started adding DHA to its organic milk in 2008. Health claims such as “supports brain health” were printed on product packaging. Rather than put all its cows on pasture to naturally improve the omega -3 profile of its milk, Dean Foods went the synthetic route. A chemically-derived DHA, from the chemical manufacturer Martek, was added to Horizon organic milk, with the approval of the Organic Standards Board.

Martek’s algal oils or algal oil powders are comprised of mutated or hexane-extracted algae. Hexane is a byproduct of gasoline refining. It is a neurotoxin and a hazardous air pollutant. Food producers use it as a solvent. Numerous other ingredients—some non-organic agricultural products and some synthetic—are also inserted in the oils or powders before being added to infant formula, milk or other foods. These non-organic and synthetic ingredients are used as preservatives, stabilizers, fillers and sweeteners. 

Join the Cornucopia Institute in calling for a re-examination of the organic standards and ask the USDA to remove these ingredients from organic products. Read the full report and sign the proxy letter to the USDA and President Obama at

Note: the Co-op chose to stop carrying Horizon products in 2007 when Cornucopia reported on the company’s industrial-scale production and questionable animal husbandry practices.