Burdened by debt, Borden files for bankruptcy reorganization

Once the world's largest dairy operator, Borden Dairy said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, aiming to reduce its debt load "and position the company for long-term success." The bankruptcy filing over the weekend in Delaware courts followed the November bankruptcy of Dean Foods, one of the largest U.S. milk processors.

Are there ‘forever chemicals’ in the nation’s milk supply?

When a dairy farm in New Mexico was shut down last year due to contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of chemicals that have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems as well as cancer, it revealed how little federal and state regulators know about the presence of these chemicals in our food supply, according to FERN's latest story, published with HuffPost. (No paywall)

FDA plans to update definition of “milk”

Dairy farmers lament that the supermarket dairy case is packed with soy milk and almond milk as well as milk from cows. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency will update its definition of milk over the next year. "An almond doesn't lactate, I will confess," said Gottlieb at a Politico showcase.

As milk prices stay low, a call for drastic dairy reform

More than fifty rural, agriculture, and labor organizations signed onto a letter demanding that Congress and the Department of Agriculture do more to support dairy farmers as low prices continue to threaten small and mid-size dairies across the country. The organizations include the National Family Farm Coalition, the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the Rural Coalition, Pesticide Action Network North America, and many others.

Ben & Jerry’s signs major agreement to protect dairy workers

In a first for the dairy industry, the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s has signed an agreement to eventually buy all of its milk from Vermont dairies that uphold rigorous standards for treatment and pay of employees. The standards, known as Milk with Dignity, were devised by the workers themselves and based on the Fair Food Program established by tomato workers in Florida under the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW).

In admission of failure, USDA allows farmers to leave dairy program

The insurance-like dairy subsidy created in the 2014 farm law has been roundly criticized as a failure by farmers and dairy-state lawmakers. The USDA signaled its agreement, telling producers they can opt out of the Margin Protection Program for 2018, rather than remaining locked into it while Congress writes a new farm bill.

Chocolate flavor not a deal-breaker for milk consumption at school

On his sixth day on the job, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, in the name of regulatory flexibility and making school meals more attractive to students, gave schools the green light to serve chocolate milk again. A new study suggests, however, that over time, schoolchildren do not miss flavored milk all that much.

French pastry-makers worry over butter shortage

Butter prices are soaring in France, the home of the croissant, whose flaky crust and satisfying taste rely on the dairy product, reports the Guardian. "There is a real risk of butter running out," says the federation of French biscuit and cake makers.

When industrial algae is added to organic milk, is it still organic?

One of the nation's best-selling brands of organic milk puts an oil derived from algae grown in a factory into some of its milk as a nutritional enhancement, says the Washington Post. "Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, the oil allows Horizon to advertise health benefits and charge a higher price," the paper said.

Dairy farmers ask for more generous subsidy plan

The dairy subsidy created in the 2014 farm law, the insurance-like Margin Protection Program, "is not working" but it can be retooled into an effective safety net, the head of the National Milk Producers Federation told the House Agriculture Committee. The changes would provide more assistance to producers during tough times, like the past couple of years, and potentially drive up costs to the government.