The dairy industry is introducing a new sustainability label. Consumer protection is about label fraud.
From September, there will be a new label on the milk carton – the sustainability label. The dairy industry introduced this today, red for Switzerland and green for the environment. Milk with a new sustainability label in the store should cost a little more.
The fact that the dairy industry is adhering to a new standard – that in itself is worth addressing given this notorious division. Stefan Kohler, general manager of the dairy organization's branch, thinks it's been a tough fight. "We've been fighting for about four years."
Spills, sustainable food and less antibiotics
The result of these negotiations is a standard agreed by farmers, processors and retailers. To meet the standard, dairy farmers, for example, must keep cows on the playground or provide them with regular supplies.
You should not feed them with palm oil or soybean flour from unsustainable production, and do not administer antibiotics without the recommendation of a veterinarian. If you are eligible, you will receive a new sticker labeled "Swissmilk green". The goal is "to make Swiss dairy products better and more valuable," Koller says.
Most of them already meet the requirements
With the label, farmers get three cents more per pound of milk. This is justified, says Hanspeter Kern, president of the Swiss Dairy Association: "If we do something better, then it's worth a little more."
Only a few farmers will have to work more sustainably. Ninety percent of cows and 88 percent of dairies already meet these new industry standards, Kern explains. This gives you more money for your milk without having to change anything. This is criticized by Sara Stalder, president of the Consumer Protection Foundation. "Basically, it's a consumer disappointment. You're selling existing ones with a few small improvements as new ones."
An industry standard that will be further developed
Although Stalder sees this as a major step forward in principle, the dairy industry agrees to uniform production conditions to call them "green" or "sustainable", but more is needed. "You could, for example, delete unnecessary concentrates or prescribe antibiotics only in an emergency." The new label would not really promise that.
The dairy industry today is committed to further developing the industry standard. Whether it will be fast is another question.