We were also
told that White Wave had been fined $100,000 for "willful"
and "serious" violations by the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA).
we found that the cited OSHA violations (for such things as not
inspecting a hoist for defects and failing to have proper electrical
circuit breakers in certain areas or required hearing or eye protection
for some employees) were remedied by White Wave within 7 days of
OSHA's inspection (OSHA had given them 15 days to fix the problems).
White Wave also
appealed OSHA's findings, and the OSHA fine was reduced from $100,000
to $33,750, and the violations which had initially been listed as
"willful" were downgraded to "serious." The
violations in question took place in February of 2000, about 19
is publicly available on OSHA's website, which shows no violations
by White Wave since then.
If being cited
by OSHA is grounds for boycotting a company, then we would have
to call for boycotts of Morning Star, Whole Foods, Earth's Best
vegan organic baby food, and Jamba Juice -- all of which appear
from quick searches on OSHA's site to have been cited at one time
In fact, most
veg and vegan companies have never even been inspected by OSHA because
they are too small an operation or no one has made a complaint which
could trigger a worker safety inspection.
of Silk Chocolate
a few emails from people claiming that chocolate used in Silk is
grown on slave plantations on Africa's Ivory Coast. However, no
one has provided a shred of evidence that this is true. It appears
to be little more than a baffling Internet rumor no one can substantiate.
We asked Silk
about this rumor and they said that they are very concerned about
the issue of slave labor, and would never knowingly purchase chocolate
produced under such conditions. They said this accusation is false,
that this would be the opposite of everything their company stands
We will soon
be featuring a fascinating article on VegSource on the slave labor
issue, but as far as White Wave purchasing slave labor chocolate,
they say it is simply not true. Just as we would do for anyone,
we give White Wave the benefit of being presumed innocent until
proven guilty. And again, we were unable to find any evidence whatsoever
that White Wave uses chocolate produced by slave labor.
Wave Lies in Press Release?
There is also
a rumor apparently circulating that White Wave put out a false press
release. The press release is reported to have stated that in a
consumer test, White Wave was preferred to Hershey's chocolate cow's
milk by 100% of consumers. This is claimed to be a lie, apparently,
because allegedly the test was not administed on "consumers"
but on a group which is employed by Good Housekeeping. In other
words, White Wave was not preferred by "consumers" but
by an independent testing team at Good Housekeeping.
However we are
unable to confirm that White Wave *did* lie, because no one has
been able to provide us with a copy of the allegedly false press
release and the other infomation which would show it to be false.
All we were
able to find was this quote from an article
about White Wave: "...the Silk chocolate soymilk brand beat
Hershey's chocolate milk in a taste test conducted by Good Housekeeping
magazine earlier this year."
So at this point
we can't confirm or even evaluate this Internet rumor.
if this were be shown to be true, if this were the most grave
"lie" that could be dug up on White Wave or their PR company,
this is clearly not on the scale of the kind of lies put out by
Monsanto, the dairy or beef industry. This seems to us to be making
a mountain out of a molehill. There is no comparison to the
puffery of this alleged White Wave "lie" (that "consumers"
preferred the taste when it was actually "Good Housekeeping
consumer testers" which preferred it) and the dangerous, nefarious
deceit of some of the food and chemical industry.
against White Wave sounds more like an argument about semantics
than any real issue. But again, even on locating the source of the
rumor, we were unable to obtain any documentation to evaluate or
The irony of
leveling specious allegations against White Wave is that the truth
appears to be this is a company which operates with integrity and
is trying to improve life on the planet, not harm it.
Here is some
interesting background about White Wave, from their website:
after traveling through India and other parts of the east for
three years, and spending eight weeks meditating in California,
Steve Demos founded White Wave. He began by making tofu in a bucket
and delivering it to local stores in a little red wagon. Really.
But making soyfoods that actually taste great, coupled with Steve’s
entrepreneurial talents and his belief in "business without guilt,"
has made White Wave one of the largest manufacturers of soyfoods
in the country, and we’re growing at an annual rate of 20 percent.
we introduced Silk (the first nationally distributed, refrigerated
soy beverage) on the hunch that Americans were thirsty for a healthy,
great-tasting milk alternative. We thought that if people were
able to buy soymilk in a convenient carton, right from the refrigerated
section of their regular grocery store, they would. And once they
tried it, they’d see just how good it tastes and how easy it is
to incorporate soy into their diets. Silk is now the fastest-growing
soymilk on the market and the top-selling fresh soymilk, proving
that playing a hunch sometimes pays off!