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How the Dairy Mafia Destroyed Dairy Farmers

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

dean foods bankruptcy

Story at-a-glance -

  • Dean Foods, one of the biggest dairy companies in the U.S., has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy
  • Dean Foods is in talks with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest dairy co-op in the U.S., about a possible acquisition
  • The merger would pose a serious conflict of interest for dairy farmers, as DFA is supposed to advocate for farmers but would end up being a processor
  • As such, DFA would have an interest in keeping milk prices low, at the detriment of the more than 13,000 dairy farmers they represent
  • Many are asking what “killed” Dean Foods, blaming its downfall on everything from plant-based milk alternatives and millennials’ apparent distaste for milk to increased availability of other beverages
  • What’s truly responsible for declining milk consumption, however, is the shift of milk from a fresh, wholesome raw food to one that’s ultraprocessed, homogenized and the product of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)

In November 2019, Dean Foods, one of the biggest dairy companies in the U.S., announced it had filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, sending a wave of uncertainty through an already shaky milk industry. Dean Foods was one of the primary milk processors and distributers in the U.S., purchasing milk directly from dairy farms.

If farmers don’t sell their milk directly to a processor like Dean Foods, they can also sell it to dairy cooperatives, which negotiate sales of the milk to processors and retailers on behalf of its members. Dairy co-ops have been rapidly consolidating, however, leaving farmers with few options for sales — Dean Foods among them.

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