Friday, March 5, 2010
Where does my milk come from?
Tracking codes and technology are being used to bring consumers even more information about their food. Just because there is a bucolic scene with a little red barn on your milk label, doesn't really tell you where your milk was produced, or more importantly, how.
"Where is my milk from?" is designed to allow you to enter a code on your dairy product to find out exactly where the farm (or likely, the factory) is located before it gets to your cereal. It also lets you look at other dairy products like cottage cheese, sour cream, cream, egg nog etc. The site takes you to a map and tells you the dairy and the place.
While this information is useful, a second step is needed for consumer who are interested in the management of cows, the farm and the milk production. For instance, does dairy/farm/factory use rBGH? Does the dairy/farm/factory store waste in a manure lagoon. What are the animals fed, how much of their lives are they lactating and being milked? What do the cows eat?
Iti s these questions that will reveal the true nature of the dairy industry and allow consumers to support practices that are humane, ecologically sensitive and closer to the natural processes intended for cows (i.e. being allowed to graze).
I hope this tool is a building block for other aps that can be developed and utilized by consumers at their point of purchase. Other cool apps poping up are ifarmersmarket that tells you the location, day and time of farmers markets in your area and Locavore that tells you what foods are in season.