(TORONTO, ON) – In response to a Toronto Star article by Michelle Henry, called Milked, the Organic Council of Ontario suggests that the piece was incomplete as she investigated the difference in price between conventional and organic milk.
Over the course of 10 months, Henry was in touch with the OCO, many of organic dairy farmers, the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, and Canada Organic Trade Association delving into the organic certification process and system.
“Her article, released yesterday, was a long and thorough investigation of the difference between conventional and organic dairy products,” the OCO said in a statement. “However, in our opinion, the article was not thorough enough.”
The organization claims that several statements made in the article ignored key details and evidence which provide important context and a clearer picture of the differences between conventional and organic agriculture. The OCO’s statement says that Henry merely sampled two bags of milk, one organic and one conventional, and drew sweeping conclusions regarding all milk production.
Henry admitted, during a phone call with the COTA on May 25 this year, that the Toronto Star’s testing was not scientific.
“You are absolutely right, I didn’t conduct formal, scientifically robust testing,” Henry said to the COTA’s Tia Loftsgard. “… testing is really one of those things where it can’t be, we can’t be using it definitively, because we’re not conducting a double blind experiment and controlling for all these various different things.”
With regards to the seeds used to grow feed for the cows, Henry suggested that both production methods can use “conventional” seeds. The OCO stipulates that in the organic process, the conventional seeds used after exhausting a search for organic heritage varieties must still be untreated and non-GMO.
“Whereas most conventional seed is treated with fungicides, only untreated and non-GMO seed varieties can be used as a last resort,” the OCO stated. “While conventionally-grown, the difference between treated and untreated seed is still significant.”
These and other issues with the Henry column can be read in full at the OCO website.