Dairy And The Environment: Saints Or Sinners?

UK - Global environmental and nutrition experts will meet in London next week to look at the impact of the dairy industry on sustainability, nutrition and the environment.
calendar icon 25 January 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Dairy UK has invited experts from the USA, Sweden and France to join with NGOs and UK industry representatives to take a hard look at whether dairy is matching consumer expectations.

French environmental expert Sophie Bertrand said: “Society has very high and contradictory expectations of the dairy industry.

"It wants us to produce more, better quality, safer dairy products, but at the same time it wants us to provide environmental services and reduce our impact on the environment.

"This is our challenge. We must also recognise that even if our environmental performance is good, as it is, we need to tell people what we are doing ... and there is always room to do that little bit better!”

Judith Bryans, Executive Director of The Dairy Council, who will explore the nutritional contribution of dairy foods, said: “Dairy is a key component of a sustainable diet because it contributes a substantial variety of nutrients.

"All food production inevitably has some impact on the environmental, so it’s important that food producers maximise the nutritional return whilst minimising environmental impact.

"Dairy foods are nutrient rich and have a lower environmental cost than people think, as well as tasting great, which is important when it comes to long term consumption.”

Dr Cindy Schweitzer, Technical Director at the Global Dairy Platform, who will focus on nutrition and sustainability, added: “In my experience, the issues are the same around the world. The big difference is whether an industry in a particular country is prepared to enter into dialogue with its critics and to take on board or respond to any comments that they might make.”

Jim Begg, Director General of Dairy UK said: “this event is not about the industry talking to itself and convincing itself that it is right.

"We’re taking the debate outside and inviting a range of perspectives. It’s the only way to progress, but frankly we are confident that we have a very strong case to present.”

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