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Center for Food Safety Calls for Boycott of Tillamook Dairy Products Over Misleading Advertising that Hides Company's Unsustainable Sourcing Practices

September 25, 2019
Center for Food Safety

Center for Food Safety Calls for Boycott of Tillamook Dairy Products Over Misleading Advertising that Hides Company's Unsustainable Sourcing Practices

 Tillamook Buys Majority of its Milk from One of the Largest Factory Farms in the Country

Portland, OR—Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) launched a petition urging citizens to commit to boycotting Tillamook's dairy products until the dairy giant commits to sourcing the milk in its products from farms which use the sustainable, humane practices that the company's advertising suggests.

The food safety watchdog group's petition on Change.org asserts that Tillamook's advertisements position Tillamook as an alternative to a Big Food brand, while the company sources the vast majority of its milk from Eastern Oregon's Threemile Canyon Farms. The Threemile mega-dairy houses up to 70,000 cows at a time making it one of the largest mega-dairies in the country and 100 times larger than what's considered a "large" dairy confined animal feeding operation.

"Big Food companies like Tillamook are exploiting consumer preference for small, local, and sustainable bypretending that their practices support health, the environment, and a local living economy, when the reality is that the milk they're buying is dirty," said Amy van Saun, senior attorney at CFS. "Community food system advocates have fought too hard to protect the livelihoods of small family farmers, animals, and our planet to see companies greenwashing their unsustainable products, especially a brand so beloved by Oregonians."

Unlike small or mid-sized pasture-based dairies, industrial mega-dairies use massive amounts of fresh water and are major polluters. They generate huge quantities of waste that is disposed of—virtually untreated—on land where it can contaminate rivers, streams, and groundwater and harm wildlife. The noxious air emissions these facilities produce can threaten public health, decrease visibility in special places like the Columbia Gorge, and contribute to climate change.

Tillamook's marketing depicts cows roaming freely on rolling green hills in Tillamook county, misleading customers into believing the cows producing the milk it buys have been given access to pasture. In the reality, the conditions at mega-dairies like Threemile Canyon paint a much darker picture: cows are intensively confined in the desert with little or no access to pasture, and waste is concentrated in open-air pits to be sprayed on surrounding fields, emitting air pollutants with no government oversight.

This boycott comes just weeks after Oregon consumers filed a lawsuit against Tillamook cheese for deceptive advertising. The lawsuit, filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) on behalf of Oregon consumers, cites the multiple consumer protection laws that Tillamook is breaking by designing ads that trick consumers into believing that their products are more "humane" than they actually are.

CFS' Tillamook petition demands the brand cut ties with mega-dairies like Threemile Canyon Farms and the upcoming Easterday mega-dairy by committing to source its milk from small or mid-size dairies that use the humane, sustainable practices that are reflected in the Tillamook's advertising. CFS urges signers to tag the company @TillamookDairy when they tweet their participation in the boycott using the hashtags #BeTheTruthTillamook and #DumpDirtyDairy.

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