22nd May, 2008
In 1952, Rachel Rowlands’ mother Dinah established the UK’s first organic dairy farm near Aberystwyth with a small herd of Guernsey cows, working ‘in harmony with nature, the elements, the seasons and wildlife’. In 1966, Rachel took over the farm and founded the Rachel’s Organic Dairy brand, which was sold to Horizon, a subsidiary of Dean Foods, in 1999.
Dean Foods, based in Dallas, Texas, is the largest dairy processor and distributor in the world, with annual sales exceeding £4.5 billion. In the 1980s and 1990s, it achieved a textbook monopoly over the US dairy sector with a series of acquisitions and mergers.
The US Organic Consumers’ Association called for a boycott of Dean’s Horizon Organic brand following allegations its ‘organic’ cows were confined to indoor feedlots. Dean Foods supports the use of Monsanto’s rBGH genetically engineered growth hormone in its conventional dairies.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist December 2007
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