Archive for the ‘dairy’ Category

Drying up the desert one glass of milk at a time

June 15, 2009

Adding an entirely new dimension to the locavore concept, Saudi Arabia is home to “the largest single integrated dairy farm in the world”. Or, at least, has been. The desert kingdom’s 30-year old experiment with dairy farming may be winding down as the 38,000 cow facility will lose its supply of domestically produced feed in another 16 years. The dairy is operated by Danone Al Safi; Danone is better known to Americans as Dannon.alsafi

The problem, it would seem, is that the dairy operation and its support industry, has already drained one aquifer and is now at work on another with recent government approval. According to a story from NPR, the new aquifer isn’t expected to last more than a few decades at most, assuming there aren’t too many other demands placed upon it.

Saudi Arabia’s response to this problem is to look overseas. Like its neighbors, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, as well as east Asian nations such as South Korea, the 77-year old kingdom is buying huge tracts of land in desperately poor nations where it hopes to grow food to export back home. Buy local, indeed.

What’s behind the milk glut?

June 11, 2009

Milk prices are falling, much to the detriment of dairy farmers. There’s a glut of milk on the market, say officials. So is demand for milk falling or are dairy farmers simply producing too much? Neither says Grist’s Jim Goodman. Full story

Milk prices, like the rest of the world economy, crashed because of a globalized, unregulated free market system, not because of surplus product. According to New York dairy farmer/market analyst John Bunting “dairy markets are run by an oligarchy—a few elite players—with little or no government oversight”. The parallels between the current dairy price crash and the Wall Street financial crash are pointedly exact.

The debate over raw milk

June 6, 2009

Dairy Reporter has published a two-part series about the raging debate over raw milk. While fans of raw milk can seem almost fanatical in their enthusiasm for the product, attributing to it everything from better taste to almost magical healing powers, conventional producers are just as adamant in their opposition to the stuff. Conventional milk producers insist raw milk is dangerous for public consumption, and that pasteurized milk is just as good – if not better – for use in cheese making and other products. Reporter Neil Merrett wrote both stories.

vacas

What's all the commotion about? (Photo: Stock.xchng)

Part 1 – Amidst debate over allowing the sale of raw milk in a growing number of US states, some processors remain unconvinced that there are any potential benefits for either consumers or manufacturers in turning away from pasteurised dairy. Full story

Part 2 – As dairy farmers around the globe continue to raise concerns over the declining value of their products, unpasteurised milk is being touted as one solution to generate added value and profitability, albeit amongst staunch opposition from some manufacturers. Full story

FDA finally acts decisively on melamine scare

November 14, 2008
Months into the melamine crisis, the Food and Drug Administration is finally cracking down on certain categories of Chinese exports.

The FDA announced Thursday it has beefed up its import controls for Chinese dairy products as well as non-dairy proteins. This action follows its last major action when, on Oct. 10, the agency placed an import alert on specific products found to be contaminated with melamine and melamine-related compounds.

Since then, “FDA has collected additional information on the scope of the melamine contamination problem in China,” the agency said in a press release, “and determined a countrywide import alert is warranted.”

The FDA defines an import alert as “detention without physical examination.” The alert has been applied to all milk products, all milk-derived ingredients, and finished food products containing milk. The alert also includes animal feeds: last month, Hong Kong officials reported finding traces of melamine in eggs, possibly as a result of tainted feed fed to chickens.

No reports of injuries as a result of melamine contamination have come to light in the United States, but more than 54,000 infants in China have reportedly suffered kidney and other ailments as a result of consuming contaminated infant formula. Four have died.