• Non-GMO and Organic Questions

    • What makes your milk Non-GMO?

      All milk is free from genetically modified organisms by definition. Organic milk ensures that all feed consumed by dairy cows shall not contain genetically modified DNA. Clover goes the extra mile to verify this by having this feed tested by the Non-GMO Project.

    • Do any Clover products contain bioengineered ingredients?

      Clover’s products are not defined as a bioengineered food and do not require a bioengineered food disclosure.

    • What is the difference between your conventional and organic products?

      While both of our product lines (conventional and organic) adhere to the rigorous standards set by the Clover Promise of Excellence, our organic products must also follow the standards set by USDA Certified Organic. For more information on USDA Certified Organic requirements, please click here.

  • Ingredients Health and Safety

    • Why do you add Vitamin A to some of your milk products?

      Federal law requires Vitamin A be added to milk that is lower in fat than whole milk to replace the Vitamin A removed when fat is separated from whole milk. Vitamin A is added only to our nonfat, low fat and reduced fat milks, not to our whole milk.

    • Do you add Vitamin D to your fluid milk?

      Yes. We add Vitamin D3 to our milk. The reason for this goes back to the early twentieth century, when many children suffered from rickets, a childhood bone disorder caused by not getting enough vitamin D. Scientists discovered that milk’s minerals, like calcium, play a role in bone and teeth development. They also discovered that vitamin D is needed to help calcium get absorbed — and therefore help prevent rickets. It is not mandatory in the US to add Vitamin D to milk.

    • Is Clover milk A1 or A2?

      We source from dairies that have both A1 and A2 cows. A majority of the cows on our family farms are Holsteins, which typically produce a mixture of A1 and A2 milk.

    • I have a nut allergy, can I consume your products?

      Our ultra-pasteurized products are run on shared equipment with Almond and Coconut (tree nuts), but no peanuts. Our other products (Yogurt, Kefir, Sour Cream, Cottage Cheese, Cheese, Butter, and Eggs) may come from facilities that contain peanuts/tree nuts where there could be shared equipment for the manufacture of allergen and non-allergen products.

      However, these facilities have multiple procedures in place to reduce the risk of contamination: (1) Production runs are scheduled such that all non-allergen runs are first for the day (or on entirely different days) (2) Full clean up procedure after allergen products are run (3) Separate storage areas for the nut/tree nut ingredients.

    • Do Clover products contain gluten?

      All of our products are gluten-free, with the exception of specific ice cream flavors that have “wheat” in the ingredients.

    • Are Clover products Kosher?

      All of our products are Certified Kosher, with the exception of our organic cheeses. Our organic cheese is not kosher because the rabbi is not on site for each batch.

  • Homogenization and Pasteurization

    • Are all of Clover Sonoma's products pasteurized?

      All Clover Sonoma products are pasteurized, with the exception of our shell eggs.
    • At what temperature do you pasteurize your milk?

      Our fluid milks meet the legal requirements of fresh pasteurization of 161 degrees F for 15 seconds. Ultra-pasteurized milk is heated to a minimum of 280 degrees F for 2-5 seconds.

    • Is Clover milk Ultra-Pasteurized (UHT)?

      Yes. We are proud to offer both fresh pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized milk options. You will find the label “Ultra-Pasteurized” at the top of our ultra-pasteurized milk varieties.

    • Is your milk homogenized?

      Yes. Our milk is homogenized to help with the natural separation that occurs in milk. Our Heavy Whipping Cream is the only exception, and is not homogenized.

  • Our Stance on Growth Hormone rBST and Antibiotics

    • Are Clover dairy cows ever treated with antibiotics?

      Like human beings, cows can get sick to a point that antibiotics are required, but this is typically a last resort for most farmers. For conventional herds, if a cow is treated with antibiotics, their systems must be completely cleared of antibiotics before re-entering the milking herd. For organic herds, if an organic cow is treated with antibiotics, she cannot rejoin the organic herd, and typically moves to a conventional herd.

    • Do your dairy products contain the artificial growth hormone rBST?

      Never. Here at Clover we say no to the bad stuff, and that includes the artificial growth hormone rBST. All of our farms have signed contracts guaranteeing that this hormone will never be used. In fact, in 1994 Clover became the first dairy west of the Mississippi to turn down Monsanto and the synthetic growth hormone rBST. (See Clover Promise of Excellence)

  • Farm Life

    • How are cows cared for on the farms? What does American Humane Certified mean?

      At Clover, we have held a longstanding belief in the humane treatment of animals. So much so that we were the first dairy ever certified by American Humane. What makes American Humane Certified farms different:

      What makes AHC Certified farms different: 

          • Zero tolerance of animal abuse
          • A safe environment for each animal
          • Extensive employee training
          • A herd health plan overseen by a veterinarian and nutritionist
          • Annual farm audits
          • Strict adherence to the five freedoms of animal welfare
    • What are the five freedoms of Animal Welfare, as defined under American Humane?

      1. Freedom from hunger and thirst, 2. Freedom from discomfort, 3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease, 4. Freedom from fear and distress, 5. Freedom to express normal behaviors

    • How are your cows milked?

      The cows are milked by a machine. Machine milking is actually the best, most humane way to milk a cow; the pulsing, rest phase, and vacuum levels are very carefully calibrated. They’re also typically cleaner than human hands, preventing potential bacteria from spreading from cow to cow. The machines also sense when the milking is complete and are automatically removed.

    • Are your cows out on pasture?

      Absolutely. Our Clover cows are out on pasture as many days a year that weather permits. Luckily, here in Northern California, that’s quite a lot!

    • Are your cows 100% grass fed?

      Due to seasonality and an increasing lack of rainfall, it's nearly impossible to raise 100% grass fed dairy cows in California without a significant amount of irrigation. Our cows are out on pasture as much as they can be, but their feed is supplemented with forages such as alfalfa, grain hays and silage, by products like almond hulls, grains such as corn, oats, and barley, as well as minerals/vitamins, among other ingredients to support the nutritional requirements of a dairy cow. As such, our dairy products are not made from 100% grass-fed cows.
    • What do your cows eat?

      The nutrition provided by the pasture is the main source of feed for our cows. When the grass dries up, or the pasture is too wet, it is only humane to bring the additional nutritional needs directly to the cows. Our dairies harvest their grasses when they are growing rapidly in the spring and turn them into silage and hays. Then, they feed the preserved forages to the cows during other parts of the year. However, our cows also need some additional nutrition at certain times of the year, so the dairies add other forages (hays) and some concentrate feeds for the carbohydrate requirements that are not available in the forages. Those concentrate feeds could be corn, wheat, or barley. Byproducts such as almond hulls, rice bran, cottonseed, soybean meal, distiller’s grains, and beet pulp can be utilized as feed for cows instead of ending up as waste in landfills!

    • What are your breeding practices?

      It varies by farm. Most people use artificial insemination because they are able to improve the health and milk production of future generations through proven genetics. Most dairies work closely with a breeder — someone who works for a breeding company who is trained to identify the proper bulls to ensure the safety and health of the mother and calf.

    • What is a typical calf’s experience once it is born?

      At Clover, our calves are cared for with the utmost attention from the moment they are born. For the health and safety of the calves, they are moved into individual pens but always within sight and sound of other calves. Our dairy farms are audited and​ certified by American Humane, which​ requires that our calves be taken to a warm protected area shortly after birth, where they are closely monitored to receive the proper amount of colostrum and ensure they don't show any signs of illness. Once our calves have been given the "green light," they enter a group pen with other calves. Each calf is very important to us, which is why we strive to keep them as safe, healthy, and protected as possible.

    • What are the calves fed?

      Conventional dairies feed calves either milk or milk replacer. Milk replacer is the equivalent of feeding your baby formula instead of breast milk — it’s a personal choice. All organic dairies feed their calves milk, as there is very little organic milk-replacer available. At a young age, calves are offered forage and grain.

    • What do you do with the bull calves?

      In accordance with American Humane standards, we care for all of our calves (male or female) in the same manner. This includes a stable and healthy start on milk that is rich with colostrum. They are then taken to a dry, warm, protected environment where they can be closely monitored to make certain that they are getting the proper amount of food and are not showing any signs of illness. After the male calves are stable and well, they are then moved to farms that specialize in raising bulls.

    • How do your dairies manage manure?

      All Clover dairies have manure management plans and sustainably recycle 100% of manure. Manure management plans include preventing application of more nutrients than a farm’s soil can absorb and making sure it’s applied when it won’t easily run off. Liquids are stored in ponds and applied to pastures and/or crops for soil fertilization at agronomic (good for soil) rates. Solids can be composted and used as a soil enhancement (also supports carbon sequestration) or dried and used as bedding.

    • Where are your cows located?

      All of the cows that produce Clover milk come from the 30 family-owned and operated farms that we partner with. These farms are scattered about in beautiful Northern California, primarily in Sonoma and Marin Counties.

    • Do you offer tours of your farms or facilities?

      At this time, we do not offer public tours of our facilities and our family farmers do not offer tours of their independently owned farms. If you’d like to learn more about the relationship we have with our family farmers, please click here. If you’d like to learn more about our facilities as it relates to social and environmental impact, please click here.

  • Storage and Quality Control

    • Are the dates on your products a sell-by or use-by date?

      All of our fluid milk products are stamped with a sell-by date. We recommend consuming most dairy products within about a week of opening on or before a sell-by date. Most of our non-fluid milk products are "enjoy-by" or "best-by."

    • The sell-by date on my milk seems like it’s too far away, should I be worried?

      If you've purchased our ultra-pasteurized milk, you may notice that the sell-by date is farther away than you’re used to. Ultra-pasteurized milk has a shelf-life of up to 70 days whereas fresh-pasteurized has a shelf life of less than 15 days. To determine if your milk is ultra-pasteurized, check near the top of the milk carton or next to the ingredient panel, which will clearly indicate whether or not the milk is ultra-pasteurized.

    • My milk spoiled early, why did this happen?

      This usually happens if the milk reached a temperature above 41 degrees F at some point in its life-cycle. If your milk spoiled within a day or two after purchase, there may have been some mishandling and/or storage practices within the store that caused the milk to reach a temperature beyond 41 degrees F. If you’ve had the milk home for several days, and then it began to spoil, we recommend double-checking that your refrigerator temperature setting is between 34-38 degrees F. We are more than happy to reimburse you for any product that spoils early, we just ask that you fill out our product concern form, which will ask specific questions found on the packaging.

  • Cheese Questions

    • Is your cheese kosher?

      No, organic cheese is not kosher since the rabbi is not on site for each production batch.

    • Does your cheese contain animal rennet?

      No, our cheeses do not contain animal rennet. They contain microbial enzymes to coagulate the milk and separate it into curds and whey.

    • My cheese has mold on it, why did this happen?

      Cheese typically keeps for many months if air is excluded from the surface of the cheese. If the seal of the package is compromised, mold spores and air can get into the package and the mold starts to multiply rapidly. We are more than happy to reimburse you for any cheese that has grown mold or spoiled early, all we ask is that you fill out our product concern form. Please click here, for the form.

  • Yogurt/Kefir Questions

    • Are there live cultures in your yogurt?

      Yes, all four of our yogurt lines — Low Fat Traditional, Nonfat Greek, Whole Milk Greek, and Cream on Top have live active cultures.

    • How is Cream on Top different from other yogurts?

      Our Cream on Top yogurt is non-homogenized, meaning that we don’t blend or mix up the cream, resulting in natural separation where the cream rises to the top!

    • What is whey?

      Whey is a byproduct of the culturing of milk. The addition of yogurt cultures to milk causes the breakdown of milk sugar. The cultured milk then goes through a separation process that removes the whey from the curds.

    • What makes Greek Yogurt different than traditional yogurt?

      Greek yogurt goes through an authentic straining process, which separates the yogurt from the whey making a thicker, higher protein yogurt.

  • Butter Questions

    • What makes European Style butter different than your other butters?

      • European Style butter differs from regular butter due to the higher percentage of butterfat
      • Regular butter contains roughly: 80% Butterfat
      • European style butter contains roughly: 82% Butterfat
    • What is lactic acid and what is it used for in your butter?

      Lactic acid is used in butter manufacturing to develop flavor and aroma during the butter production process. It is derived from the fermentation of milk through culturing, and then steam-distilled. The final ingredient contains more than 98 percent water, and the remainder is a mixture of butter-like flavor compounds.

  • Egg/Chicken Questions

    • What do your hens eat?

        • Depending upon their nutritional requirements, our hens have slightly different diets. All of our egg suppliers work closely with veterinarians and nutritionists to ensure our chickens are getting all of the nutrients they need.
        • For our cage free hens, they have a vegetarian diet that consists of a combination of grain, protein supplements, vitamins and minerals. Our organic cage free hens receive a similar diet, though all ingredients are Organic certified. Both of these groups have a diet that is 100% vegetarian.
        • Our pasture raised hens spend much of their time digging through pasture for grass, bugs, and worms, though their diet is supplemented with a grain blend to support their active lifestyle.
    • Do you trim beaks?

      Our egg suppliers trim beaks because otherwise the chickens could do serious harm to one another. They use an infrared beak tipping process when they are one day old, but that’s only to reduce the sharpness of their beak hook. This does not affect the hen long term and in the end, this makes their lives much less stressful as they can cause serious damage to each other.

    • Can your eggs sit out of the refrigerator?

      Eggs should always be refrigerated at 45 degrees F or lower if possible. A cold egg left out at room temperature can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria that could contaminate the egg. Refrigerated eggs should not be left out more than two hours. Reducing temperature fluctuation is critical to egg safety.

    • Are your hens cage-free?

      Yes. Our conventional eggs come from hens that are in a cage free aviary system. Our organic flock, also cage free, has access to the outdoor earth at all times, with the exception of during inclement weather. Our free range hens have housing that gives them daytime access to the outdoors (at least 21.8 sq. ft. per hen) and nighttime barn shelter. And of course, our pasture-raised hens have at minimum 108.9 sq. ft. per hen of cage-free livin’!

    • How do your Omega-3 eggs have added Omega-3?

      We do not add any Omega-3 to the egg. We simply feed our hens a diet that is rich in Omega-3 and flax seed, which is then naturally passed along into their egg production.

    • What’s the difference between all your egg types?

        • Conventional Cage free (Non-Organic) vs. Organic Cage Free:
          • Conventional cage free hens live in an indoor cage-free aviary system, whereas our organic cage-free hens have both an indoor aviary system as well as outdoor access when weather permits. Organic cage-free hens are also fed a diet that is in compliance with USDA Certified Organic standards.
        • Organic Cage Free vs. Organic Pasture Raised:
          • While Organic cage-free hens have both indoor and outdoor access monitored by USDA Certified Organic, Pasture-raised organic hens have that and an additional requirement to have at least 108.9 sq ft. of room per hen. Both consume only USDA Certified Organic feed.
  • Packaging and Recycling

    • What does compostable mean?

      Compostable means that all materials in the product or package will break down into — or become part of — usable compost safely and in about the same time as the materials with which it is composted. While this is, in fact, the legal FTC definition, it is important to note that most compost facilities need to be able to turn compost within 90 days, otherwise their business models are not economically viable. Some companies will stretch the truth here and label products that break down in 120 days as compostable, but they often create huge headaches for waste management companies. PLA based cups and lids fall into this category. Though they are labeled as compostable, they go into the landfill. Despite the issues, these cups are still considerably better than plastic single use cups and lids because they can in fact biodegrade in a reasonable amount of time. Why don’t more food companies use compostable packaging? It's fairly simple. Because the material needs to be able to biodegrade on its own within 90 days, it often cannot be made with the strength required for modern production and distribution.

    • What does recyclable mean?

      Recyclable means that the materials can be reused in other applications. Unfortunately, in the case of plastic, it can only be down-cycled a finite number of times (1-3) before the material degrades too much to be useful. At that point it ends up in the landfill and could take up to 450 years+ to biodegrade, if it ever degrades at all. Because plastic was only recently invented, it's hard to say for certain how long it will actually take for it to biodegrade, which is why you will see varying estimates. For this reason, Clover is passionate about transitioning any of our products that are currently in plastic into other formats.

      In terms of what happens to different materials: In the case of HDPE or PP plastic, for example, packages are melted, then made into small plastic pellets. Those pellets get sold to companies who then heat them up again and form them into a variety of things like toys, plastic flower pots, take out containers, etc.

      When milk cartons are recycled, they are usually purchased by paper mills. Those facilities will shred the cartons and put them into a re-pulper, a machine somewhat similar to a household blender, with water in order to extract the fiber. That fiber is then used to make tissues, paper towels or other paper products. The 10-15% of the carton that is the plastic liner often ends up mixed with a bit of paperboard, so it is best used by some of these facilities (though not all) as biofuel. Some of that plastic may end up in the landfill, but because the quantity of it per bottle/package is so much less than a plastic bottle, cartons are a significantly better solution, though far from perfect.

    • What does renewable mean?

      Renewable means that the materials used to make the product can be re-grown, or “renewed.” Clover’s new renewable carton is made from a combination of FSC paperboard that is sourced from trees (which can be re-grown) and bioplastic that is sourced from sugarcane (which also can be re-grown). Anything made from fossil fuels isn’t renewable because there are finite quantities of fossil fuels available. Furthermore, fossil fuels require immense amounts of energy for extraction, which contributes to the high greenhouse gases associated with the production of fossil fuel-based plastic.

    • What happens if a milk carton isn’t recycled?

      Some counties will ask customers to place all items in one bin, and then do the sorting themselves. In these circumstances, you would have to ask your waste hauler if they sort out cartons. If your local waste hauler doesn’t recycle cartons at all, then unfortunately, the cartons end up in the landfill. It's important to understand what happens in the landfill as you evaluate the products you purchase.

      Even though plastic is more widely recycled, the inherent problem with plastic is that 100% of it can only be recycled 1-3 times before its quality decreases to the point where it can no longer be used, and at that point 100% of it ends up in the landfill where it may never biodegrade.

      Milk cartons may be less widely accepted in recycling, but when/if they end up in the landfill, the 80– 85% paperboard component can biodegrade in a faster time period than plastic. It is difficult to estimate how long it takes for a carton to decompose/breakdown in a landfill because the rate of decomposition can be highly variable depending on the landfill conditions (e.g., temperature, moisture, microbial activity, etc.) as well as on the condition of the carton when landfilled (e.g. protective coatings around the fiber are intactor there are tears that expose the fiber content). While some sources claim that milk cartons decompose in five years, our packaging supplier assumes that up to 50% of the carton package can decompose in a 100-year time period. That may sound like a long time, but it is less than a quarter of the time it would take a similar plastic package, if the plastic ever degrades at all.

    • Can I compost your new renewable carton?

      One important note here is that the bioplastic in Clover’s new renewable carton undergoes a chemical process that, unfortunately, no longer makes it compostable. Currently available compostable bioplastics are often not strong enough to support the product inside, leading to leakage and other packaging failures. Even though it is not compostable, the bioplastic in our renewable carton is a vast improvement from a fossil fuel-based plastic because sugarcane captures carbon from the air as it grows, while fossil fuels contribute to the release of greenhouse gases through their extraction.

    • Can I recycle your new renewable carton?

      Yes, our new renewable carton is recyclable, just like our regular carton, if your local waste hauler accepts it. Every waste hauler has different types of processing equipment as well as end markets for materials. While a majority of US households (61%) have access to carton recycling, there are still a number of waste haulers who are unable to take this material. We are actively working with the Carton Council to expand the number of waste haulers who accept cartons for recycling. A great resource to confirm recycling in your area is the Carton Council website - https://www.recyclecartons.com/. Please always make sure to rinse and dry your recyclables before placing them in the bin!

      Please always check with your local waste hauler to confirm if they take milk cartons.

    • Why don’t you use glass bottles?

      We have looked into glass a number of times for our fluid milk products. There are a number of concerns and challenges with glass. Some of the larger concerns are the incredible emissions associated with initial production, additional transportation/fuel associated with shipping heavy glass, and the amount of water required to clean the glass bottles. To heat sand up to the temperatures required to make a glass bottle, it requires a tremendous amount of energy.

      As a result of that, glass has 7.5x the emissions factor vs. paperboard cartons according to IPCC, and this assumes that that glass is still recycled in a closed loop system. Because our trucks are only legally permitted to ship a certain amount of weight, we would reduce the amount of milk that we can ship on one truck by approximately 25%, which has major fuel and cost implications.

      On water, we aren’t set up currently to be able to reuse the water locally, so we would need to discharge it to a local wastewater facility, and right now they do not have capacity for additional wastewater. We are actively working with our local haulers and the carton council to educate and promote recycling cartons.

    • Is your plastic packaging (Yogurt, Kefir, Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream) recyclable?

      Yes, our yogurt cups, kefir bottles and cottage cheese/sour cream packages caps are considered recyclable. However, the eligibility of recycling these materials depends on your county. We are committed to pursuing packaging improvements that minimize downstream environmental impacts, while maintaining strict food safety standards.

      Please always rinse and dry before you recycle, and make sure to attach the lid to the cup!

    • Why don’t you add a plastic screw-top lid to your paperboard milk cartons?

      Clover has made the conscious decision to reduce plastic waste by saying “no” to plastic caps on our paper cartons. As a result, we saved 224,559 lbs. of plastic from likely ending up in landfill in 2020, equivalent to over 11M water bottles.

    • Are your regular (non-renewable) paperboard milk cartons recyclable/compostable? What about ice cream?

      Yes, both our milk cartons and ice cream cartons are recyclable in most counties. Unfortunately, they are not compostable because of the thin plastic liner on the inside and outside of the carton. We are engaging a number of packaging companies to try to find a solution for this. We are a team of avid gardeners and would love nothing more than to be able to re-use our cartons in our compost!

      A great resource to confirm recycling in your area is the carton council website https://www.recyclecartons.com/. Please always make sure to rinse and dry your recyclables before placing them in the bin!
  • Organic Omega-3 + Choline Milk Questions

    • Why did we add DHA Omega-3 & Choline?

      Both DHA Omega-3 & Choline are important nutrients for our bodies that need to be supplemented through our diets. DHA Omega-3 is important for healthy fetal, infant and child development — it is the principal fatty acid comprising the brain’s cerebral cortex, supporting memory and learning. In early childhood, DHA is particularly important because the brain and eyes rely heavily on it for proper growth. Choline is an essential nutrient that helps a baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly. It is in high demand during pregnancy, at a recommended 450 milligrams per day. One serving of Clover’s Organic Omega-3+ milk provides 100mg of Choline, or over 20% of the recommended daily value! Obtaining recommended levels of Choline is necessary to promote healthy neural development of the fetus and reduce the incidence of birth defects. Studies have shown that when expectant mothers consume sufficient amounts of the nutrient Choline during pregnancy, their offspring gain enduring cognitive benefits.

    • What is Choline?

      Choline is an essential vitamin-like nutrient that is combined with chloride to form a biologically essential substance. Chloride provides a balance to the choline molecule, making it water-soluble and easily processed.

    • How is the DHA Omega-3 oil extracted?

      The Omega-3 is extracted with a chemical-free process without solvents or hexanes, food-grade enzymes and by utilizing a closed environment —never exposing algae to contaminants.

    • Is your DHA from a vegetarian source?

      Yes, our omega-3 is 100% vegetarian. It is sourced from algae, not fish.

    • How is the DHA Omega-3 oil sourced?

      Clover’s DHA Omega-3 oil is sourced from algae, which is sustainably farmed in a lab versus extracted from the natural environment.

    • What are the health benefits from DHA Omega-3?

      DHA is known to have an important role for visual and neurological development. There is a growing body of research supporting the benefits of Omega-3 and brain health across all ages.

    • What is DHA?

      Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a long-chain Omega-3 fatty acid that has been studied for its role in brain, heart, and eye health. Although it is found in most tissues throughout the body, the highest concentrations of DHA are in the brain, the nervous system and the retina of the eye.

    • What are Omega-3s?

      Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids, with three main types: EPA, DHA and ALA. These are found mainly in fatty fish and vegetable oils. DHA is docosahexaenoic acid that can be synthesized by the body from ALA, however very little is converted to DHA. It is recommended that EPA and DHA come from food and supplements, as our body doesn’t produce enough to satisfy nutritional needs.

  • Other

    • Do you sell your products online?

      We exclusively use independent distributors and do not sell any of our organic products online or on our website. There are a small number of third-party companies in the Western United States which sell a selection of our products online, such as Good Eggs, Instacart, Farmstead Fresh, and Amazon Fresh.