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Reps. Pingree, Welch, Kuster, and Golden Urge Danone to Fulfill Commitment to Northeast Organic Dairy Farms

Today, U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), and Jared Golden (D-Maine) urged the Chief Executive Officers of Danone and Danone North America to fulfill its earlier commitment to support organic dairy farms in the Northeast. In a December 2021 letter, Danone pledged to work with regional stakeholders to co-invest in Northeastern organic dairy infrastructure. To date, there has been no evidence of the promised co-investment in impacted communities. 

“Danone promised assistance to our region and the farmers they are leaving behind,” the letter read. “As a B Corp, a corporation that is supposed to use “business as a force for good”, we believe Danone has a responsibility to make good on those promises. Therefore, we request Danone respond to our region’s 89 organic dairy farms with clear and explicit steps for when and how its promised co-investment will be delivered”.

Last summer, Danone abruptly terminated contracts with 89 organic dairy farms across the Northeast, leaving these farms, who once supplied Danone’s Horizon Organic brand, without a buyer for their product. In October of that year, Reps. Pingree, Welch, Kuster, and Golden wrote to Danone and encouraged the company to reinstate contracts with its former suppliers in the Northeast. Subsequently, Danone proposed a series of steps designed to mitigate the impact of their departure from the Northeast, including co-investment in Northeastern organic dairy infrastructure.

Reps. Pingree, Welch, Kuster, and Golden have continued to monitor Danone’s outreach to Northeastern organic dairy farms and associated stakeholders, holding the corporation accountable for commitments made in their 2021 proposal. Seeing no progress on Danone’s commitment to co-investment, the Legislators drafted this additional letter to urge the company to meet all commitments to organic dairy farmers in our region.

As a longtime organic farmer, Pingree has repeatedly advocated to close loopholes that disadvantage Maine organic farmers and undermine the organic label. 

To read the full letter, please click here.

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