Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

On Dean Foods’ Support of California’s Prop. 37


I am a longtime attendee of the Common Ground Fair, which I absolutely love. In reading The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, I noticed that the front page [of the Dec. 2012-Feb. 2013 issue] showed an article on Dandelion Spring Farm and Straw Farm that said they ship their milk to Horizon. Horizon is owned by Dean Foods, which contributed to the non-labeling of GMO foods [e.g., opposed Prop. 37 in California, which, if it had passed, would have required labeling of some genetically engineered foods]. This doesn't go along with MOFGA principles and is against all that MOFGA stands for.

I hope to hear from you soon regarding this concern of mine.


Lynn Murdock


Hi Lynn,

Thank you for your e-mail and concern about genetically engineered foods. We, too, find Dean Foods’ and other big entities’ opposition of California’s Proposition 37 upsetting, as we noted in our news article about the proposition on page 11 of the last MOF&G.

On the other hand, a number of Maine dairies and hundreds of other family-scale organic farms do sell to Horizon. Some of these farmers (including Straw Farm) originally sold to The Organic Cow of Vermont, which was bought by Horizon. We recognize that our certified-organic farmers need markets and that changing markets, especially in a complex, long-term endeavor such as dairy farming, is difficult.

Interestingly, Dean Foods began selling some of its WhiteWave (which includes Horizon) stock to the public in October 2012 and another of its divisions (Morningstar Foods) in December 2012. This seems to be a business in flux. Perhaps WhiteWave’s public shareholders will gain a voice in some of Dean Foods’ operations.

Jean English, editor, The MOF&G