The Cornucopia Institute, a public interest group focused on food and agriculture, said it filed a complaint with the Department of Agriculture accusing Target Corp. of falsely advertising Silk soymilk as being organic.
The Cornucopia, Wis.-based institute said Minneapolis-based Target’s national newspaper advertisements picture Silk with the word “organic” on the label.
Cornucopia says that Silk parent company Dean Foods had converted the product line to conventional soybeans but that it did not change its UPC code or explicitly tell consumers.
“Major food processors have recognized the meteoric rise of the organic industry and profit potential, and want to create what is in essence ‘organic light,’ taking advantage of the market cachet but not being willing to do the heavy lifting required to earn the valuable USDA organic seal,” said Mark A. Kastel, senior farm policy analyst at Cornucopia.
In a statement, the Broomfield, Colo.-based WhiteWave division of Dean Foods, which oversees the Silk line, said: “As demand for organic and natural food products continues to grow, WhiteWave remains dedicated to providing a variety of options to satisfy a broad range of consumer demands. Silk continues to offer both organic and natural options to consumers, both of which are carried at Target. Horizon is committed to providing nutritious options for families, and offers a full line of organic dairy products. All Silk and Horizon organic and natural products are clearly labeled as such.”
A Target spokesperson said, “It is not appropriate for us to further comment at this time, but we are trying to investigate into this matter right now.”
Target and Cornucopia clashed previously when Cornucopia criticized the company’s advertising of its private label Archer Farms products for blurring the line between its natural and organic food.
Separately, Dean Foods promoted its WhiteWave-Morningstar group President Joseph Scalzo, 51, to the parent company's chief operating officer. He will Dean Foods operating businesses, including WhiteWave, Fresh Dairy Direct, Morningstar and Alpro.
Blaine McPeak, 43, president of Horizon and Silk, was promoted to president of WhiteWave Foods.