where does it come from?

the sydney morning herald lifestyle blog, "chew on this" by Paula Goodyer this week posted "sacrificial calves - the real cost of eating dairy food" sparking controversy from all corners of the "to dairy or not" debate (you can read them there). what was not discussed was the cost of eating dairy food.

the article cites claims that 250kg of greenhouse gas could be saved by reducing your weekly milk intake by two cups (apparently the equivalent of 1/4 of the annual emissions saved by switching to a hybrid car). the article swiftly moves from carbon footprint to the ethics of the dairy industry itself, and what might happen to male-born calves

over 2 days the post got 92 responses, not once were we presented with any substance regarding the cost - environmental, economical, social, or otherwise; mostly it was a heap of drivel about soy products. if we are to calculate the real cost of consumption of a product, the reactive behaviour of non consumption should factor into the cost model.

how much energy goes into converting a soy bean into a dairy substitute? what are the processes involved? where is the soy bean grown? are the farming practices ethical & sustainable? who grows the soy bean; are they reimbursed appropriately or exploited? who processes the soybean into the consumer product? where is it processed? what other ingredients/products are required, and where do they come from? I could go on...

are we any better off consuming soy milk - a highly processed product, in preference to animal milk (even if it is processed to some extent)? at the end of the day, it's just another highly processed food with economic and ecological costs as well as a well-tuned machine of marketing, advertising and corporate backing to ensure it remains a profitable business category.

1 comment:

grocer said...

a different point of view
I had to laugh last night when I finally gave myself the time to go through some reading that I had put aside over the last weeek or so.

And there in the back of the weekend fin review (27-29 July) was an article by Matt Moran (in my opinion probably one of the most pragmatic chefs in town) here are the first two paragraphs.

" Delicate flavours warm winter tables
"Once a by-product of milk production, this delicate meat is now a fixture on many good menus.
"From a food-chain historical viewpoint, veal was originally a means to an end and a by-product. What I mean is that the primary purpose of the birth of a calf was to maintain the lactation of the cow so that it kept producing milk. However over the last couple of centuries, this "lost generationN" of calves has been harnessed to produce the wonderfully delicate meat that we know as veal"

so there you go!