Food News in Brief: Rise of the micro-dairy

In other news, the quality of pesticides, animal feed and minced beef are also under heavy scrutiny

“Blessed are the cheesemakers,” or maybe not in Denmark where the likes of esrom (Danish port salut), havarti and maribo are increasingly becoming ‘forgotten cheeses’ at the expense of ‘imports’ from countries such as France, the Netherlands and even Britain.

Over the last 50 years, consumers have shown they are no longer prepared to travel to source quality Danish cheeses and instead happy to settle on what they can find in their local supermarket.

Quality over quantity
Leading the fightback is Brian Nørtoft, who this past week has opened a new north Zealand cheese shop, Humlebæk Mikro Mejeri, where everything is homemade.

He has coined the expression ‘mikromejeri’ (micro dairy) because he does not want his operation to grow at the expense of quality.

Microbrewery footsteps
The trend is not a new one, as micro-dairies, following in the footsteps of microbreweries and other cottage industries, have been steadily springing up over the last decade.

However, they are just as likely to fold if consumers continue to choose the industrially-made produce on offer at the supermarkets, warns Nørtoft.

Ministers face grilling over pesticides
Two ministers will today be grilled about the harmful effect of pesticides on Danish consumers. Esben Lunde Larsen, the minister for the environment and food, along with Ellen Trane Nørby, the health minister, will be asked questions at the consultation in Copenhagen about what measures they will be taking to ensure approved pesticides do not cause health issues. In some cases, the consumption of certain pesticides has prevented doctors from using critical medicines on patients because they have become immune to the effects.

Can Danish animal feed be organic AND sustainable
The Ministry of Environment and Food has asked the department of animal science at Aarhus University to draw up plans to make all animal feed organic – and preferably sourced from Denmark. Currently farmers are able to make 5 percent of their feed from non-organic raw materials, but it is believed the European Commission will soon ban its use. However, sustainability will remain a problem, as a previous report from Aarhus University suggested that Denmark has a 50 percent production deficit. Furthermore, some of the feed currently grown in Denmark is a good fit for some animals, but not for others.

Salmonella in minced beef warning
The Fødevarestyrelsen food administration has issued a warning about the risk of salmonella in packets of minced beef that might be sitting in your freezer. The ‘Økologisk Hakket Oksekød’ products in question, with a fat percentage of 8-12 percent and weighing 400 and 800 grams, were produced by Gris, Lam & Co on March 12 and sold by Irma and The expiry date was March 28.

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