'Jungle-free' cheese anyone?

20 May 2013

Friends of the Earth Netherlands took over 11,000 orders from across the Netherlands for the first production run of their new ‘Kleine Hoefprint’ (Small hoof-print) cheese – demonstrating a real demand for high quality cheese with low environmental impact.

The cheese will be produced by a local, family-run business, Aurora, with milk from cows fed with local fodder. No soy products will be used at any stage in the process – reducing the environmental and social impacts of soy cultivation in Latin America, and emissions from transport.

“Many consumers are not aware that the soy used to feed cows in the Netherlands comes mainly from Brazil, and is linked to deforestation. We want, like Friends of the Earth, to ensure that nature doesn’t suffer for our food” Harry ten Dam, Aurora Kaas.

The Netherlands is the world’s second largest importer of soy after China. This soy is predominantly used to feed livestock to produce dairy and meat products, and drives demand for South American soy, which is a major cause of deforestation and loss of biodiversity in the region. Each year millions of hectares of forest cut down in South America, with the Amazon estimated to lose about 600,000 hectares annually. Vast plantations push small farmers from their land and threaten their livelihoods, while providing fewer jobs per hectare compared to small scale production.

João Pedro Stédile, National leader the movement of landless peasants in Brazil said.
"Stop buying soya to feed your cows, let the people here have a chance to organize agricultural production to guarantee our own food needs first.”

Many local organic producers have already adopted good practice, such as locally sourced protein-feed, but Milieudefensie aim to drive the mainstream producers to produce more sustainable cheese.