Thursday, March 4, 2010

Want to know what dairy your milk comes from?

If you buy your milk from the store and want to know what dairy it comes from, you're in luck - kind of. Our Report Card posted a link today to a page created by students from Brigham Young University that claims to tell you where your milk comes from. "Yeah, yeah, it probably comes from cows, but where do the cows come from?" is the tagline on their website.

The process is simple - find a certain code on your carton and match it up on this page to a dairy. By the way, the website says that this works with most dairy items - sour cream, some ice creams, cheeses, yogurts, etc.

But when you look closer, it's not that simple. These aren't necessarily dairies they're linking to, but collection points. Katherine (at Our Report Card) noticed this too. I had bounced over to the link before I finished reading her post, so I noticed it when I realized that my father-in-law's small dairy in Wyoming wasn't listed. Then I looked again at the list for Idaho, and realized that of course it was too short to list all of the dairies (we have a *lot* of dairies in this area) around here. A few of the places listed in the Idaho section (which I've copied below) are dairies, but they are very large dairies with their own large tanks.

So all of these collection points are pooling together the milk of thousands of cows and you still don't know where your milk is coming from. I think it shows a huge disconnect from the source of your food when you don't realize (as I didn't for 20-odd years) that the carton of milk in your fridge could easily contain the milk from hundreds of cows. To me, that has the same 'ick' factor as finding out years ago that the burgers you eat at McDonald's could easily contain the ground up meat of hundreds of different cows (from many different countries, even).

So this is an interesting - and even useful in some ways - list, but it certainly doesn't tell you where the cows your milk comes from are from. I know that some of these collection points collect milk from different states. But it's a start, and what's more, it's an acknowledgment that the general public is starting to wake from a deep, apathetic sleep when it comes to their food. And that, my friends, is good news indeed, don't you think? It makes me hopeful.

I've copied the list here for Idaho, just in case it gets taken down for some reason.

Idaho - 16

Plt CodeNameCity
16-345Best Whey CoopFirth
16-24Brewster West LlcRupert
16-04Darigold IncBoise
16-16Darigold IncCaldwell
16-50Darigold IncJerome
16-371Dairy Farmers Of America - Eastern IdahoSalt Lake City, Ut
16-351Dairy Farmers Of America - Magic Valley - IdahoSalt Lake City, Ut
16-342Dairy Farmers Of America - Treasure ValleySalt Lake City, Ut
16-357Glanbia Foods IncTwin Falls
16-366Gossner Foods IncLogan, Ut
16-365Gossner Foods IncLogan, Ut
16-40Gossner Foods - Magic ValleyHeyburn
16-45High Desert Milk IncBurley
16-381High Desert Milk IncBurley
16-09Horizon Organic Dairy (Idaho Farm)Paul
16-380Horizon Organic Dairy (Idaho Farm)Paul
16-25Idaho Milk ProductsJerome
16-348Independent Milk Producers LlcTwin Falls
16-11Jerome Cheese CoJerome
16-340Jerome Cheese CoJerome
16-361Ken Hall DairiesTerreton
16-354Magic Valley Quality Milk ProducersJerome
16-05Meadow Gold DairiesBoise
16-321Northwest Dairy Assn.Seattle, Wa
16-352Northwest Dairy Assn. (Bulk Tank Unit) - Magic ValleySeattle, Wa
16-341Northwest Dairy Assn. - Treasure ValleySeattle, Wa
16-350Reed's Dairy Farm IncIdaho Falls
16-33Sartori FoodsBlackfoot
16-360Snake River Dymen's AssociationPocatello
16-03Sorrento LactalisNampa
16-344Sorrento LactalisNampa
16-193Stoker DairyBurley

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