A last label deserves special attention: ” pasture milk “, which has flourished in recent years on a heap of dairy products, in particular campina milkbut also processed products such as Belgian or Dutch Gouda, for example.
In a recent survey, the magazine Purchasing test awarded this label of Dutch origin a good report on the basis of two criteria: the label would be transparent and independently controlled. This is Weidegang Foundation, which is not an association of producers, which carries out this control. The controlled is not the controller as sometimes happens.
No doubt, but what exactly is controlled ? The label guarantees that the cows can graze 120 days a year and at least six hours a day. However, the farms that benefit from this label are almost all located in the Netherlands and in Flanders, where pasture is scarce, and where the agricultural model that prevails is rather that of intensive farms, where the cows are fed all year round on the barn with industrial supplements and very little grass grazed in the pasture.
How can this “grass milk” label flourish in such a context? Quite simply because the controls are content to verify that the animals can indeed walk in a meadow next to the barn for three months of the year, but not that they find the grass necessary for their food there. A true pasture label should measure the portion of pasture in a cow’s diet versus industrial supplements. We are far from the mark here.
Belgium produces 4 billion liters of milk per year and consumes less than 2 million. The rest goes toexportin the form of butterbut mostly in the form of powdered milk. And in department store surfaces, brands rely heavily on the image to tell the difference: health, terroir, equity, environment. And the consumer who is not very attentive can mistake beef for cow.