News wire

Syracuse, N.Y.-based Byrne Dairy opened an ultra-pasteurization dairy processing facility in Dewitt, N.Y. The new facility will allow the company to increase the depth of its current product line and generate future growth into new markets. Earlier this year, the company was named 2004 Dairy of the Year by All Star Dairy Association.
In June, legislation was introduced in Congress to set up a new national dairy compact called the National Dairy Equity Act (NDEA). According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the legislation — which seeks to revive and expand the defunct Northeast Dairy Compact — creates a complicated pricing scheme that layers a new regional bureaucracy on top of the current federal order system. For more information on the new compact and IDFA’s opposition, visit www.idfa.org.
Overstatement of $19 million in profits over a seven-year period by the Carlisle, Pa., Land O’Lakes butter/butter powder processing facility is behind the company’s need to restate earnings from 1997 through the first quarter of 2004. The Arden Hills, Minn.-based cooperative reports accounting practices at its South Middleton Township dairy plant are being audited by KPMG, Land O’Lakes’ accounting firm. Discrepancies in recording of estimates for milk receivables and fees are cited as the cause of the original inflation of profit statements. Net earnings were overstated by about $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2004, by $2 million in 2003 and between $2 million and $5 million annually in 1997 through 2002.
Two separate incidents in June on the West Coast had the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and others clambering to determine whether milk in California and Washington was safe to consume. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported that milk from cows raised in some parts of California may expose infants and children to a greater level of toxic rocket fuel than is considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Massachusetts. Meanwhile, results of the testing of milk samples from cows exposed to a toxic substance in Washington state revealed no identifiable risk from this agent associated with the milk from any of the exposed cows.
Two of the Northeast dairy industry’s leading independents, LaFarge, Wis.-based Organic Valley Family of Farms and New Britain, Conn.-based Guida’s Milk and Ice Cream, have formed a new co-processing partnership. All four Organic Valley HTST white milks (whole, 1%, 2% and skim) will now be processed at Guida’s certified organic facilities.
What is expected to be the largest civil sex-discrimination lawsuit on record will proceed against Wal-Mart following class-action suit approval by a federal judge. The decision will allow about 1.6 million women to join the suit brought by six California women alleging systemic pay and promotion bias against female employees of the nation’s largest retail grocer. More than two-thirds of the Wal-Mart workforce is female, but less than one-third of its managers are female and women are paid less than men in every department of the store. U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins in San Francisco took nine months to decide whether to expand the lawsuit to include virtually all women who work or have worked at Wal-Mart. Most large U.S. class-action lawsuits are settled before trial; in a 1997 case covering 25,000 women, Home Depot settled a sex discrimination case for $104 million.
Using only organic ingredients, no emulsifiers and 14 percent butterfat, Straus Family Creamery, Marshall, Calif., has introduced the first organic ice cream mix to be available in the United States. Scoop shops can now provide their own deliciously flavored organic treats. “We wanted to do the right thing,” says Ray Martin, owner of Fairfax Scoop, the first and only scoop shop in the nation that often has customers lining up outside the door. The San Francisco-area shop uses Straus Ice Cream mix as its base and has a revolving menu of more than 100 unique flavors.
The California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) is accepting nominations through September 24 for the William C. Haines Dairy Science Award. The award, named after William (Bill) Haines of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), will honor individuals who have worked in support dairy science. Scientists who have made a significant contribution to the dairy industry through research and development are eligible for the award. Nomination forms for the 2005 award are available at www.cdrf.org.