Letters to the Editor

Dairy dispute

We are surprised The Bee would give such prominence to the attack on a national organic farming advocate by the Western United Dairymen (WUD) seeking to discredit our organization and organic farming [story Dec. 5].

WUD represents many industrial-scale confinement (feedlot) style dairies. Its whole press release revolved around one minor geographic error in our 755-word comprehensive analysis of the E. coli spinach contamination issue. We happily corrected the disputed sentence in our communique when brought to our attention.

Although the E. coli investigation still continues, we know for sure that there is no natural relationship between spinach production and E. coli. None! This pathogen has to be introduced into the production/processing continuum. And the deadly strain that contaminated the spinach grows in the guts of cattle raised on unnatural, high-production, grain-intensive diets -- a diet universal to industrial farms.

The good news for your readers is that more California dairy farmers are switching to organic production to protect the environment and the health of their cows, families and workers, and for fair pricing in the marketplace.

We thank California consumers for supporting the many wonderful organic dairy options they have in natural food co-ops and supermarkets throughout the state.

Mark Alan Kastel

Senior Farm Policy Analyst

The Cornucopia Institute

Cornucopia, Wisconsin