Got green milk?

Milk prices in New York have gone up again by 44 cents/gallon today and I wonder if consumers care enough about the sustainability of their milk when it’s getting difficult to even buy them – green or not.

The US dairy industry plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through several actions such as developing new energy-reducing milk processing technology; carbon credit trading system to optimize returns; best management and tools that calculate energy efficiency; green power production by expanding methane digesters; eco-friendly and low-cost packaging; and reducing cooling costs and refrigeration emissions.

The recommendations were hatched at the industry’s first sustainability summit held in mid-June in Arkansas.

In another green dairy news, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) filed a lawsuit yesterday against the State of Ohio’s new labeling regulations on cow-based dairy products.

The regulation, according to IDFA, is said to be costly and cumbersome, and could force manufacturers to drop information about artificial growth hormones altogether.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) joined the suit against Ohio stating that the new regulation will improperly dictate organic dairy labels. OTA said the only one benefiting from the new rules is antibiotic producer Monsanto.

Some researchers from Cornell University recently put out a study, however, that using growth hormones could make the dairy industry more green, according to this article from Reuters.

The research suggests that large scale cow growth hormones use could reduce the number of cows needed to produce milk, cutting demand for corn and soybeans and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the amount of manure they produce.

In relation to antibiotics, another recent study by the Ohio State University (coincidence?) stated that meat from pigs raised without antibiotics carries more pathogens and parasites, according to this article from Food Business News.

“Does having an antibiotic-free and animal-friendly environment cause the re-emergence of historically significant pathogens? I think that is an extremely important question for consumers, policymakers and researchers to consider.”

To complete the meal, chickens from Australia is said to be the cleanest and greenest in the world because they are not injected with hormones and fewer than 5% are given antibiotics, according to the University of Melbourne.

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