CHOW Tips:  Cheese

Index   |   Sitemap   |   Advance

If the simple act of cooking food is a wonder, cheese is a miracle. The application of salt, enzymes, bacteria, heat, and time transforms ordinary milk into an enormous variety of forms.

From evanescent queso fresco and ricotta to more enduring varieties such as cheddar and Parmesan, cheese can be sweet or pungent, hard or spreadable, chalky or smooth, musky or bright—like wine and beer, it offers a seemingly infinite range of experiences.

CHOW Tips offers helpful info, like how to buy cheese, how to cut and serve cheese, whether or not to freeze cheese, and more.

Our 21 quick and easy CHOW Tips will start you along your path to becoming a cheese connoisseur.

Villeroy & Boch Tableware
Celebrate in style. Give gifts that will last a lifetime.



Worldwide, cheese is a major agricultural product.  The largest producer of cheese is the United States, accounting for 30% of world production, followed by Germany and France.  Only 30% of French production, the world's largest exporter, is exported.  The United States is only a marginal exporter, as most of its production is for the domestic market.  Germany is the largest importer of cheese.  The UK and Italy are the second- and third-largest importers.

Germany is the world's largest (per capita) consumer of cheese, with 31.1 kg eaten by the average German.  Finland is the second biggest consumer of cheese, with 26.1 kg by inhabitant.  In Greece, Feta accounts for three-quarters of this consumption.  Emmental (used mainly as a cooking ingredient) and Camembert are the most common cheeses in France.  Iceland is the third biggest consumer by person with 25.4 kg.  In the U.S., the consumption per person reached 14.8 kg (33 lb) in 2003.  Mozzarella is America's favorite cheese and accounts for nearly a third of its consumption, mainly because it is one of the main ingredients of pizza.

Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms.  Cheese consists of proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep.  It is produced by coagulation of the milk protein casein.  Typically, the milk is acidified and addition of the enzyme rennet causes coagulation.  The solids are separated and pressed into final form.  Some cheeses have molds on the rind or throughout.  Most cheeses melt at cooking temperature.

Cheese Production

Essentially, there are basic steps involved in the production of cheese:   curdling, curd processing, and ripening.


A required step in cheesemaking is separating the milk into solid curds and liquid whey.  Usually this is done by acidifying (souring) the milk and adding rennet.  The acidification can be accomplished directly by the addition of an acid like vinegar in a few cases (paneer, queso fresco), but usually starter bacteria are employed instead.  These starter bacteria convert milk sugars into lactic acid.  The same bacteria (and the enzymes they produce) also play a large role in the eventual flavor of aged cheeses.  Most cheeses are made with starter bacteria from the Lactococci, Lactobacilli, or Streptococci families.  Swiss starter cultures also include Propionibacter shermani, which produces carbon dioxide gas bubbles during aging, giving Swiss cheese or Emmental its holes (called eyes").

Some fresh cheeses are curdled only by acidity, but most cheeses also use rennet.  Rennet sets the cheese into a strong and rubbery gel compared to the fragile curds produced by acidic coagulation alone.  It also allows curdling at a lower acidity—important because flavor-making bacteria are inhibited in high-acidity environments.  In general, softer, smaller, fresher cheeses are curdled with a greater proportion of acid to rennet than harder, larger, longer-aged varieties.

Curd Processing:

At this point, the cheese has set into a very moist gel.  Some soft cheeses are now essentially complete: they are drained, salted, and packaged.  For most of the rest, the curd is cut into small cubes.  This allows water to drain from the individual pieces of curd.

Some hard cheeses are then heated to temperatures in the range of 35–55 °C (95–131 °F).  This forces more whey from the cut curd.  It also changes the taste of the finished cheese, affecting both the bacterial culture and the milk chemistry.  Cheeses that are heated to the higher temperatures are usually made with thermophilic starter bacteria that survive this step—either Lactobacilli or Streptococci.

Salt has roles in cheese besides adding a salty flavor.  It preserves cheese from spoiling, draws moisture from the curd, and firms cheese’s texture in an interaction with its proteins.  Some cheeses are salted from the outside with dry salt or brine washes.  Most cheeses have the salt mixed directly into the curds.Other techniques influence a cheese's texture and flavor.  Some examples:

  • Stretching:  (Mozzarella, Provolone) The curd is stretched and kneaded in hot water, developing a stringy, fibrous body.
  • Cheddaring (Cheddar, other English cheeses) The cut curd is repeatedly piled up, pushing more moisture away.  The curd is also mixed (or milled) for a long time, taking the sharp edges off the cut curd pieces and influencing the final product's texture.
  • Washing:  (Edam, Gouda, Colby) The curd is washed in warm water, lowering its acidity and making for a milder-tasting cheese.

Most cheeses achieve their final shape when the curds are pressed into a mold or form.  The harder the cheese, the more pressure is applied.  The pressure drives out moisture—the molds are designed to allow water to escape—and unifies the curds into a single solid body.

Cheese Ripening:

A newborn cheese is usually salty yet bland in flavor and, for harder varieties, rubbery in texture.  These qualities are sometimes enjoyed—cheese curds are eaten on their own—but normally cheeses are left to rest under controlled conditions.  This aging period (also called ripening, or, from the French, affinage) lasts from a few days to several years.  As a cheese ages, microbes and enzymes transform texture and intensify flavor.  This transformation is largely a result of the breakdown of casein proteins and milkfat into a complex mix of amino acids, amines, and fatty acids.

Some cheeses have additional bacteria or molds intentionally introduced before or during aging.  In traditional cheesemaking, these microbes might be already present in the aging room; they are simply allowed to settle and grow on the stored cheeses.  More often today, prepared cultures are used, giving more consistent results and putting fewer constraints on the environment where the cheese ages.  These cheeses include soft ripened cheeses such as Brie and Camembert, blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola, and rind-washed cheeses such as Limburger.

Back to Menu

Types of Cheese:

There are several types of cheese, with around 500 different varieties recognized by the International Dairy Federation.

  • Moisture content (soft to hard) – The lines between "soft", "semi-soft", "semi-hard", and "hard" are arbitrary.  The factor that controls cheese hardness is moisture content, which depends on the pressure with which it is packed into molds, and aging time.

  • Fresh, whey and stretched curd cheeses – The main factor in the categorization of these cheese is their age.  Fresh cheeses without additional preservatives can spoil in a matter of days.

  • Content (double cream; made from cow, goat, sheep or water buffalo) – Some cheeses are categorized by the source of the milk used to produce them or by the added fat content of the milk from which they are produced.  Double cream cheeses are soft cheeses of cows' milk enriched with cream so that their fat content is 60% or, in the case of triple creams, 75%.

  • Soft-ripened and blue-vein – There are three main categories of cheese in which the presence of mold is a significant feature: soft ripened cheeses, washed rind cheeses and blue cheeses.

  • Processed cheeses Processed cheese is made from traditional cheese and emulsifying salts, often with the addition of milk, more salt, preservatives, and food coloring.  It is inexpensive, consistent, and melts smoothly.

The varieties of cheese may be grouped or classified into types according to criteria such as length of aging, texture, methods of making, fat content, animal milk, country or region of origin, etc.—with these criteria either being used singly or in combination.  The method most commonly and traditionally used is based on moisture content, which is then further narrowed down by fat content and curing or ripening methods.

Their styles, textures and flavors depend on the origin of the milk (including the animal's diet), whether they have been pasteurized, the butterfat content, the bacteria and mold, the processing, and aging.  Herbs, spices, or wood smoke may be used as flavoring agents.  The yellow to red color of many cheeses is from adding annatto.

For a few cheeses, the milk is curdled by adding acids such as vinegar or lemon juice.  Most cheeses are acidified to a lesser degree by bacteria, which turn milk sugars into lactic acid, then the addition of rennet completes the curdling.  Vegetarian alternatives to rennet are available; most are produced by fermentation of the fungus Mucor miehei, but others have been extracted from various species of the Cynara thistle family.

Back to Menu

Eating and Cooking:

Cheese is valued for its portability, long life, and high content of fat, protein, calcium, and phosphorus.  The long storage life of some cheese, especially if it is encased in a protective rind, allows selling when markets are favorable.

At refrigerator temperatures, the fat in a piece of cheese is as hard as unsoftened butter, and its protein structure is stiff as well.  Flavor and odor compounds are less easily liberated when cold.  For improvements in flavor and texture, it is widely advised that cheeses be allowed to warm up to room temperature before eating.  If the cheese is further warmed, to 26–32 °C (79–90 °F), the fats will begin to "sweat out" as they go beyond soft to fully liquid.

Above room temperatures, most hard cheeses melt.  Some cheeses, like raclette, melt smoothly; many tend to become stringy or suffer from a separation of their fats.  Fondue, with wine providing the acidity, is a good example of a smoothly melted cheese dish.  Elastic stringiness is a quality that is sometimes enjoyed, in dishes including pizza.  Even a melted cheese eventually turns solid again, after enough moisture is cooked off.  As its temperature continues to rise, cheese will brown and eventually burn.  Browned, partially burned cheese has a particular distinct flavor of its own and is frequently used in cooking (e.g., sprinkling atop items before baking them).

Back to Menu

Health and Nutrition

In general, cheese supplies a great deal of calcium, protein, phosphorus and fat.  A 30-gram (1.1 oz) serving of Cheddar cheese contains about 7 grams (0.25 oz) of protein and 200 milligrams of calcium.  Nutritionally, cheese is essentially concentrated milk: it takes about 200 grams (7.1 oz) of milk to provide that much protein, and 150 grams (5.3 oz) to equal the calcium.

  1. Residue from Pesticides, Herbicides, Antibiotics, and Growth Hormones — Many major illnesses and diseases have been linked to the overuse of antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals that are used in the production of dairy.  The higher fat content of a food, the easier it is for these harmful chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics to be stored and ultimately consumed by adults and children around the world.  Pesticides and other toxins are stored in fatty tissue such as a cow's milk glands, and are then secreted in her milk, which is after all a secretion itself that has a high fat content.

  2. Omega-3, CLA, and Other Nutrition — Cheese from grain-fed factory farmed cows is very high in the omega-6 fats that most people get far too much of and leads to a variety of diseases.  Meanwhile, it is quite low in the omega-3 that most people are dangerously deficient in.  It is also very low in "conjugated linoleic acid," or CLA, that is a potent cancer fighter people need.  On the other hand, cheese from organically raised grass-fed cows contains a perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, a ratio ideal for your health.  It's also five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than cheese from grain-fed cows.  CLA are among the most potent cancer fighters in all foods.  One 2000 study, in fact, suggests that women who eat products from grass-fed cows, particularly cheese, may have up to a 60% reduction in their risk of breast cancer! Finally, cheese from cheese from organically raised grass-fed cows is considerably higher in beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E than cheese and other dairy from grain-fed sources.

  3. Heart Disease — Cheese potentially shares other nutritional properties of milk.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest describes cheese as America's number one source of saturated fat, adding that the average American ate 30 lb (14 kg) of cheese in the year 2000, up from 11 lb (5 kg) in 1970.  Their recommendation is to limit full-fat cheese consumption to 2 oz (57 g) a week.  Whether or not cheese's highly saturated fat content actually leads to an increased risk of heart disease is a subject of debate, as epidemiological studies have observed relatively low incidences of cardiovascular disease in populations such as France and Greece, which lead the world in cheese consumption (more than 14 oz/400 g a week per person, or over 45 lb/20 kg a year).  This seeming discrepancy is called the French paradox; the higher rates of consumption of red wine in these countries is often invoked as at least a partial explanation.

  4. 160x600_start_button_girl
  5. Dental Health — Some studies claim that cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and American cheeses can help to prevent tooth decay.  Several mechanisms for this protection have been proposed: (a) the calcium, protein, and phosphorus in cheese may act to protect tooth enamel, and (b) cheese increases saliva flow, washing away acids and sugars.

  6. Effect on Sleep — A study by the British Cheese Board in 2005 to determine the effect of cheese upon sleep and dreaming discovered that, contrary to the idea that cheese commonly causes nightmares, the effect of cheese upon sleep was positive.  The majority of the 200 people tested over a fortnight claimed beneficial results from consuming cheeses before going to bed, the cheese promoting good sleep.  Six types of British cheeses were tested and the findings were that the dreams produced were specific to the type of cheese.  Although the apparent effects were in some cases described as colorful and vivid, or cryptic, none of the cheeses tested were found to induce nightmares.  Cheese contains tryptophan, an amino acid that has been found to relieve stress and induce sleep.

  7. Lactose — Cheese is often avoided by those who are lactose intolerant, but ripened cheeses like Cheddar contain only about 5% of the lactose found in whole milk, and aged cheeses contain almost none.  Nevertheless, people with severe lactose intolerance should avoid eating dairy cheese.  As a natural product, the same kind of cheese may contain different amounts of lactose on different occasions, causing unexpected painful reactions.

  8. Hypertensive Effect — Some people suffer reactions to amines found in cheese, particularly histamine and tyramine.  Some aged cheeses contain significant concentrations of these amines, which can trigger symptoms mimicking an allergic reaction: headaches, rashes, and blood pressure elevations.

  9. Weight loss, blood pressure and blood sugar — A 2009 study at the Curtin University of Technology compared individuals who consumed three servings per day to those who consumed five per day.  The researchers concluded that increased consumption resulted in a reduction of abdominal fat, blood pressure and blood sugar.

  10. Pasteurization — A number of food safety agencies around the world have warned of the risks of raw-milk cheeses.  The U.S.  Food and Drug Administration states that soft raw-milk cheeses can cause "serious infectious diseases including listeriosis, brucellosis, salmonellosis and tuberculosis".  It is U.S.  law that all raw-milk cheeses (including imports) must be aged at least 60 days.  There is a trend for cheeses to be pasteurized even when not required by law.  Compulsory pasteurization is controversial.  Pasteurization does change the flavor of cheeses, and unpasteurized cheeses are often considered to have better flavor, so there are reasons not to pasteurize all cheeses.  Some say that health concerns are overstated, or that milk pasteurization does not ensure cheese safety.  Pregnant women may face an additional risk from cheese; the U.S.  Centers for Disease Control has warned pregnant women against eating soft-ripened cheeses and blue-veined cheeses, due to the listeria risk, which can cause miscarriage or harm to the fetus during birth.

  11. Casein — Like other dairy products, cheese contains casein, a substance that when digested by humans breaks down into several chemicals, including casomorphine, an opioid peptide.  In the early 1990s, it was hypothesized that autism can be caused or aggravated by opioid peptides.  Studies supporting these claims have had significant flaws, so the data are inadequate to guide autism treatment recommendations.

Back to Menu

Dairy Farming

FarmTek New Items 2

Dairy farming is a class of agricultural, or an animal husbandry, enterprise, for long-term production of milk, usually from dairy cows but also from goats and sheep, which may be either processed on-site or transported to a dairy factory for processing and eventual retail sale.

Most dairy farms sell the male calves born by their cows, usually for veal production, or breeding depending on quality of the bull calf, rather than raising non-milk-producing stock.  Many dairy farms also grow their own feed, typically including corn, alfalfa, and hay.  This is fed directly to the cows, or is stored as silage for use during the winter season.

In the United States, the top five dairy states are, in order by total milk production California, Wisconsin, Idaho, New York and Pennsylvania.  Dairy farming is also an important industry in Florida, Minnesota, Ohio and Vermont.  There are 65,000 dairy farms in the United States

Back to Menu

Family Dairy Farms

The milking of cows was traditionally a labor-intensive operation and still is in less developed countries.  Small farms need several people to milk and care for only a few dozen cows, though for many farms these employees have traditionally been the children of the farm family, giving rise to the term "family farm".  Before large scale mechanization arrived in the 1950s, keeping a dozen milk cows for the sale of milk was profitable.  Now most dairies must have more than one hundred cows being milked at a time in order to be profitable, with other cows and heifers waiting to be "freshened" to join the milking herd.

Historically, for most herds, milking took place indoors twice a day, in a barn with the cattle tied by the neck with ropes or held in place by stanchions.  Feeding could occur simultaneously with milking in the barn, although most dairy cattle were pastured during the day between milkings.  Until the late 19th century, the milking of the cow was done by hand using the traditional milking pail.  Following each cow being milked, the bucket would be dumped into a holding tank.

Advances in technology have mostly led to the radical redefinition of "family farms" in industrialized countries such as the United States.  With farms of hundreds of cows producing large volumes of milk, the larger and more efficient dairy farms are more able to weather severe changes in milk price and operate profitably, while "traditional" very small farms generally do not have the equity or cash flow to do so.

In the 1980s and 1990s, robotic milking systems were developed and introduced (principally in the EU).  Thousands of these systems are now in routine operation.  In these systems the cow has a high degree of autonomy to choose her time of milking within pre-defined windows.  These systems are generally limited to intensively managed systems although research continues to match them to the requirements of grazing cattle and to develop sensors to detect animal health and fertility automatically.

Back to Menu

Factory Dairy Farms

Factory farming is the process of raising livestock in confinement at high stocking density, where a farm operates as a factory—a practice typical in industrial farming by agribusinesses.  Very large or confined indoor intensive livestock operations (particularly descriptive of common U.S.  farming practices) are often referred to as factory farming.  The methods deployed are designed to produce the highest output at the lowest cost, usually using economies of scale, modern machinery, biotechnology, and global trade for financing, purchases and sales.  The practice is widespread in developed nations, and most of the meat, dairy, eggs, and crops available in supermarkets are produced in this manner.

Intensive animal farming practices involves very large numbers of animals raised on limited land which require large amounts of food, water, and antibiotics and pesticides to mitigate the spread of disease and pestilence exacerbated by these crowded living conditions.  In addition, antibiotics are used to stimulate livestock growth by killing intestinal bacteria.  There are differences in the way factory farming techniques are practiced around the world.  There is a continuing debate over the benefits and risks of factory farming.  The issues include the efficiency of food production; animal welfare; whether it is essential for feeding the growing global human population; the environmental impact and the health risks.

This is in contrast to many sorts of sustainable agriculture such as organic farming or extensive agriculture, which involve a relatively low input of labor, relative to the area of land farmed, and which focus on maintaining long-term ecological health of farmland, so that it can be farmed indefinitely.

With the advent of factory farms, innovation in milking focused on mechanizing the milking parlor (also known as a milking shed) to maximize throughput of cows per operator which streamlined the milking process to permit cows to be milked as if on an assembly line, and to reduce physical stresses on the farmer by putting the cows on a platform slightly above the person milking the cows to eliminate having to constantly bend over.  Many older and smaller farms still have tie-stall or stanchion barns, but worldwide a majority of commercial farms have parlors.

Rather than simply milking into a common milking pipeline for example, the parlor can be equipped with fixed measurement systems that monitor milk volume and record milking statistics for each animal.  Tags on the animals allow the parlor system to automatically identify each animal as it enters the parlor.  A building also gives shelter to the animals and the milker from extremes of weather.

It takes the average cow three to five minutes to give her milk.  Some cows are faster or slower.  Slow-milking cows may take up to fifteen minutes to let down all their milk.  Milking speed is only minorly related to the quantity of milk the cow produces—milking speed is a separate factor from milk quantity; milk quantity is not determinative of milking speed.  Because most milkers milk cattle in groups, the milker can only process a group of cows at the speed of the slowest-milking cow.  For this reason, many farmers will cull slow-milking cows.

Back to Menu

Organic Dairy Farms

Organic milk is defined by the USDA as milk from cows that have been exclusively fed organic feed that has not been genetically modified nor contains meat and bone meal (MBM), have not been treated with synthetic hormones, are not given certain medications to treat sickness, and are held in pens with adequate space.

The animals must have access to the outdoors and pastures to graze or forage.  Organic meat and dairy producers use preventive measures—such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing—to help minimize disease.  Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers cannot be used on their land.  Moreover, the animals cannot have their genes modified through genetic engineering.  The farms are inspected and certified to make sure USDA regulations are in effect.

Dairy industry sources claim that there is no difference in terms of quality and safety between regular milk and organic milk, and a Monsanto study concluded that both types of milk contain the same nutrients.  However, Monsanto is a U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation.  It is the world's leading producer of the herbicide marketed as "Roundup".  Monsanto is also the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed; it provides the technology in 90% of the genetically engineered seeds used in the U.S. market.  Monsanto's development and marketing of genetically engineered seed and bovine growth hormone, as well as its aggressive litigation, political lobbying practices, seed commercialization practices and "strong-arming" of the seed industry have made the company controversial around the world and a primary target of the alter-globalization movement and environmental activists.

Organic milk proponents argue that the Monsanto studies did not look at the additional health impacts of herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides, and hormones that are used in the production of non-organic milk, and that these chemicals have been shown to increase the risk of eczema, other allergies, and cancers.  Moreover, some academic studies have found that organically produced food and organic milk in particular, tends to contain significantly higher levels of nutrients generally held to be healthy. 

Back to Menu

Banner 728x90 Animated

Animal Welfare Issues

Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.  The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights.  Welfare is measured by indicators including behavior, physiology, longevity, and reproduction.

Systematic concern for animal welfare can be based on awareness that non-human animals are sentient and that consideration should be given to their well-being, especially when they are used by humans.  These concerns can include how animals are killed for food.  Motivations to improve the welfare of animals stems from sympathy and empathy.  It can also be based on self-interest.  For example, animal producers might improve welfare in order to meet consumer demand for products from high welfare systems.

Concern for farm animals is mainly focused on factory farming.  Animal welfare impacts of factory farming can include:

  • Close confinement systems (cages, crates) or lifetime confinement in indoor sheds (see battery cage and veal)
  • Discomfort and injuries caused by inappropriate flooring and housing (e.g. hoof and hock lesions in cows and)
  • Restriction or prevention of normal exercise and most of natural foraging or exploratory behavior
  • Restriction or prevention of natural maternal nesting behavior
  • Lack of daylight or fresh air and poor air quality in animal sheds
  • Social stress and injuries caused by overcrowding
  • Health problems caused by extreme selective breeding and management for fast growth and high productivity.
  • Reduced lifetime (longevity) of breeding animals (dairy cows and egg-laying hens) due to their routine culling after their productive lives
  • Fast-spreading infections encouraged by crowding and stress in intensive conditions
  • The routine separation of mother and calf soon after birth
  • The culling of almost all the male offspring of dairy cows (either by disposal soon after birth, for veal production, or for beef)
  • Chick culling Male chicks, which are too scrawny for meat and incapable of laying eggs, may be liquidated as inventory
  • Debeaking (beak amputation without pain killer) in the poultry and egg industry to avoid pecking in overcrowded quarters quarters
  • Sexual and physical abuse at the hands of workers

Back to Menu

Environmental Impact

Concentrating large numbers of animals in factory farms is a major contribution to global environmental degradation, through the need to grow feed (often by intensive methods using excessive fertilizer and pesticides), pollution of water, soil and air by agrochemicals and manure waste, and use of limited resources (water, energy).

Livestock production is also particularly water-intensive in indoor, intensive systems.  Eight percent of global human water use goes towards animal production, including water used to irrigate feed crops.

As measured in phosphorus, the waste output of 5,000 cows roughly equals a municipality of 70,000 people.  In the case of the typical industrialized dairy farm, each dairy consists of several modern milking parlor set-ups operated as a single enterprise.  Each milking parlor is surrounded by a set of 3 or 4 loafing barns housing 1,500 or 2,000 cattle.  The size and concentration of cattle creates major environmental issues associated with manure handling and disposal, which requires substantial areas of cropland (a ratio of 5 or 6 cows to the acre, or several thousand acres for dairies of this size) for manure spreading and dispersion, or several-acre methane digesters.

Air pollution from methane gas associated with manure management also is a major concern.  As a result, proposals to develop dairies of this size can be controversial and provoke substantial opposition from environmentalists including the Sierra Club and local activists.

The potential impact of large dairies was demonstrated when a massive manure spill occurred on a 5,000-cow dairy in Upstate New York on Aug.  10, 2005, contaminating a 20-mile (32 km) stretch of the Black River, and killing 375,000 fish.

However, when properly managed and regulated, dairy and other livestock waste, due to its nutrient content (N, P, K), makes an excellent fertilizer promoting crop growth, increasing soil organic matter, and improving overall soil fertility and tilth characteristics.  Most dairy farms in the United States are required to develop nutrient management plans for their farms, to help balance the flow of nutrients and reduce the risks of environmental pollution.  These plans encourage producers to monitor all nutrients coming onto the farm as feed, forage, animals, fertilizer, etc.  and all nutrients exiting the farm as product, crop, animals, manure, etc.  For example, a precision approach to animal feeding results in less overfeeding of nutrients and a subsequent decrease in environmental excretion of nutrients, such as phosphorus.

EcoloBlue Life & Energy

Environmental impacts of factory farming can include:

  • Deforestation for animal feed production
  • Unsustainable pressure on land for production of high-protein/high-energy animal feed
  • Pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer manufacture and use for feed production
  • Unsustainable use of water for feed-crops, including groundwater extraction
  • Pollution of soil, water and air by nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer used for feed-crops and from manure
  • Land degradation (reduced fertility, soil compaction, increased salinity, desertification)
  • Loss of biodiversity due to eutrophication, acidification, pesticides and herbicides
  • Worldwide reduction of genetic diversity of livestock and loss of traditional breeds
  • Species extinctions due to livestock-related habitat destruction (especially feed-cropping)

Back to Menu

Ethical Consumerism

Ethical consumerism is the intentional purchase of products and services that the customer considers to be made ethically.  This may mean with minimal harm to or exploitation of humans, animals and/or the natural environment.  Ethical consumerism is practiced through "positive buying" or "moral boycott".

Ethical consumers of meat and fish—also known as "ethical omnivores" (omnivores eat both plants and animals as their primary food source)—think about the animals the meat they eat comes from.  They ask such questions as Have they lived well? Have they been fed on safe, appropriate foods? Have they been cared for by someone who respects them and enjoys contact with them? Have they been raised in a sustainable manner?

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.—Mahatma Gandhi.

Ethical consumerism is practiced through "positive buying" or "moral boycott".

Positive buying means favoring ethical products, be they fair trade, cruelty free, organic, recycled, re-used, or produced locally.  This option is arguably the most important since it directly supports progressive companies.  A number of standards and labels have been introduced to induce positive buying, such as: organic food, local food, Organic Trade Association, vegan, free-range poultry, grass fed beef, dolphin safe fish, kosher and halal (religious standard).

Moral boycott is the practice of avoiding or boycotting products which a consumer believes to be associated with unethical behavior.  An individual can choose to boycott a product.  Alternatively, the decision may be the application of criteria reflective of a morality (or, in the terminology of ethics, a theory of value) to any purchasing decisions.  Reasons for products boycotts include factory farming and/or environmental harm.

The rise in ethical consumerism and green brands that identify themselves as ethical, has led to a rise in ethic-based decisions in the mass market, enabled by increased understanding and information about businesses practices.  The term ethical consumerism may refer to the wider movement within marketing, which means that large corporations wish to be seen as working ethically and improving the ethical standards of their industry.

Alternative terms are ethical consumption, ethical purchasing, moral purchasing, ethical shopping or green consumerism.

Please buy humanely-raised, cruelty-free meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs and support more substainable agriculture.



CHOW Tips:

BEER:  3 ways to chill beer, how to pair beer with food, how to identify off flavors in beer, and more.

WINE:  The best cheap wines, how to properly chill wine, wine tasting, wine paIring, and more.

SPIRITS:  How to taste fine spirits, when to blow on your liquor, how to make the perfect martini and more.

MEAT & POULTRY:  How to choose fresh meat, how to grill, how to make the perfect hamburger, and more.

SEAFOOD:  22 back-of-the-house secrets from chefs, such as how to buy fresh fish, and how to smoke or grill seafood.

PRODUCE:  Tips that will help you get your daily recommended servings of grains, cereals, fruits, and vegetables.

COFFEE:  Banish bitter coffee from your repertoire. CHOW Tips will help brew a delicious cup every time.


Contact Us    |    Shop    |    Sitemap    |    Join Our Team    |     Investors     |    Advertise   |    Web Design Services

Community    |    Foodies' Choice    |    Meetup Groups    |    Chat     |    Blogs     |   Forums    |    Submit Your Site    |    Resources

Make a Free Website with Yola.