Milk giant’s bankruptcy not expected to affect Meadow Gold
Hawaii’s supply of milk isn’t expected to be affected by Tuesday’s move by the owner of Meadow Gold filing bankruptcy.
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Hawaii’s supply of milk isn’t expected to be affected by Tuesday’s move by the owner of Meadow Gold filing bankruptcy. But it could give the only milk processor in the state its fourth new owner in two decades.
Dallas-based Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 protection against creditors and said it is in advanced negotiations to sell the company to Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative owned by thousands of farmers.
If a sale is made, Hawaii’s only milk processor would continue what has been a long procession of big mainland owners.
For most of its history in Hawaii, Meadow Gold has been owned by mainland dairy giants.
The origination of the business started with seven Oahu dairy farms banding together in 1897 to form Dairymen’s Association Ltd.
Later, Dairymen’s acquired use of the Meadow Gold name that was established by Continental Creamery Company of
In 1929, Dairymen’s became a subsidiary of Creameries of America, which itself merged in 1953 with Beatrice Foods that led to Dairymen’s being renamed Meadow Gold Dairies Hawaii in 1962.
Beatrice was acquired in 1986 by Borden Inc., then the world’s largest dairy company.
Two more sales of Meadow Gold were made in the 1990s — the first to Southern Foods in 1997 and then to Suiza Foods Corp. in 1999. Suiza bought Dean Foods in 2001 and retained the Dean Foods name.
Today, Meadow Gold operates dairy product manufacturing facilities in Honolulu and Hilo. The company closed its last
Hawaii dairy in 2001 and mostly imports mainland milk for processing and distribution.
A Dean Foods representative could not be reached Wednesday to say what impact the bankruptcy would have on Meadow Gold, but the company said it is continuing an ordinary course of business.
“The actions we are announcing today are designed to enable us to continue serving our customers and operating as normal as we work toward the sale of our business,” Eric Beringause, Dean Foods president and CEO, said in a statement Tuesday.