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Chobani Turns to Fair-Trade Program to Help Struggling Dairy Industry

Author: Michael Corkery, New York Times, Published on: 21 August 2019

2 July 2019

The yogurt maker Chobani is working with Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit group in Oakland, Calif., on creating a label that would signal that the milk in its products came from farms that treated their workers and cows humanely.

Chobani will pay a small premium for milk supplied by farms that agree to the Fair Trade USA vetting process, in which auditors periodically inspect the herd, interview workers and look at environmental issues like the containment of runoff.

Chobani’s fair-trade initiative — and likely marketing push — could help the company continue to stand out in an increasingly competitive yogurt market. Chobani says it believes the premium can help farmers hit by persistently low milk prices and highlight good practices in an industry that’s under enormous strain and scrutiny…

One potential complication: Many dairy farmworkers in the United States are immigrants from Central America, and a large number are believed to be undocumented. Mr. Ulukaya said he did not think that would make farmers in central New York and Idaho, the two states where the yogurt company draws its milk, reluctant to open up to the fair-trade auditors…

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