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06/27/2011 11:11 AM     print story email story  

Silk Soymilk Trying to Rebuild Image with Organic Purchasers

SustainableBusiness.com News

The Silk brand, which produces soy, coconut and almond "milks", is adding a new angle to its green marketing that it hopes will help it recuperate from the bad press it received in 2009.

The company, which is owned by the largest dairy company in the US, Dean Foods, announced that all its products have been officially verified by the Non-GMO Project.

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, distributors, farmers, seed companies and consumers that is dedicated to "ensuring the sustained availability of non-GMO food and beverage choices."

Dean Foods was heavily criticized in 2009 for switching from organic to conventional soy beans without clearly labeling it with different packaging.

For many years, Silk soymilk was certified organic. In 2009, they introduced a "natural" line - the soymilk was made from conventionally grown soybeans (where pesticides are used), but the packaging was identical to the organic line  that retailers and customers were long accustomed to other than the absence of the USDA Organic seal. Even the price retailers charged was the same!

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) called for a boycott of Silk products because even "certified organic" soybeans were sourced from countries with unacceptable labor and certification standards including Brazil and China.

In August 2009, the Silk website claimed that all soy beans were in fact sourced from North America including organic soybeans.

In late 2010, the company launched a traceability website, which allows people to trace the origin of the soybeans found in any Silk product down to the county level.

Now the company hopes the Non-GMO labeling will further rebuild confidence among customers.

All Silk soymilk, coconutmilk and almondmilk products were enrolled in the Non-GMO Project's Product Verification Program last year. To achieve verification, Silk demonstrated that all of its GMO risk ingredients are tested according to a rigorous and continuous program in compliance with Non-GMO Project Standards, which include traceability and segregation requirements.

The Non-GMO Project's verification seal will now appear on all verified Silk Soymilk, Silk Pure Almond and Silk Pure Coconut beverage packaging beginning in August.

"With more than 20 million consumers nationwide and an exceptionally high volume of soybeans, all from North America, Silk is a tremendous ally," says Megan Westgate, executive director of the Non-GMO Project. "The verification of their beverage portfolio is an enormous boost to our non-profit mission of providing the public with an informed choice and preserving a non-GMO ingredient supply for the future."

Surveys show that shoppers are confused by the term "natural" and that many people assume it means "organic," when it's not.

Read our previous coverage of the Silk saga:

Website: http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/18467



Reader Comments (11)

Author:
Grafx

Date Posted:
06/29/11 09:35 PM

Silk also uses municipal fluorinated tap water in even it's organic products at least thats what they told me on the phone. And they backed it up on face book post but then deleted them all. But don't believe me try and ask SIlk on their Facebook page if they have fluoride in their products. You may find your post removed or they will block you.

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Author:
Chris

Date Posted:
06/30/11 05:14 PM

I have switched to Wild Wood for my soy creamer and it is GMO free.

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Author:
meagain

Date Posted:
06/30/11 05:58 PM

well I like "zensoy" it's organic and sourced from USA-grown beans, not beans grown on former rainforest and shipped across the ocean. plus it tastes very good and has a cute panda on the box.

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Author:
Crystal

Date Posted:
06/30/11 07:08 PM

I don't trust anything stamped USDA, USDA is backing all GMO products. Wake up people.

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Author:
ana

Date Posted:
06/30/11 09:25 PM

we drink local organic milk from mostly grass-fed cows. I am weary of drinking heavily processed foods, like soymilk, that have added sugar and other additives to make it stable and creamy. Go back to the basics!

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Author:
Maia Maia

Date Posted:
06/30/11 10:13 PM

I recommend EDENSOY (organic) unsweetned...it's the best, safest, healthiest soymilk anywhere. No thickeners or additives of any kind.

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Author:
Sven

Date Posted:
07/06/11 01:42 PM

Before you drink another drop of soy milk, I recommend reading Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food". A real eye-opener.

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Author:
Jersey Girl

Date Posted:
07/26/11 12:11 AM

Does the Silk Milk, Coconut and Almond contain Soy?

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Author:
rob

Date Posted:
09/30/11 11:23 AM

@ana cows produce milk because they're pregnant. and they're consistently impregnated to keep producing milk. their female calves become a part of the milk-producing reproduction cycle, and the discarded males become veal on a restaurant menu. the dairy industry directly support the veal industry. as the parent of a newborn, that's not a basic i want to go back to.

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Author:
Martin

Date Posted:
10/17/12 03:50 AM

At this point, I would just be happy to have non-GMO soy beans. What I can't wrap my head around is, how can Silk be non-GMO when almost all US soy IS GMO?

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Author:
Me

Date Posted:
02/06/13 02:31 PM

Google search "nutrition data silk almond" and one of the first links should be the nutritiondata, (all one word in the address), site. Supposedly no fluoride was detected in their analysis of samples, but I'm not sure exactly how many parts per million of something is required to be present before counting it.

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