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    Lidl first in Belgium to only sell milk from grazing cows

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    Starting from this summer, Lidl will only sell milk from cows that graze outside in a meadow, making it the first Belgian retailer to make the complete switch from stable milk to pasture milk.

    The supermarket will only sell milk, including fruit and chocolate milk, from animals that live outside and eat grass for at least 120 days a year, at least six hours a day. All bricks and bottles will receive a “meadow milk” label.

    “The change completely fits in with the sustainability strategy that we started rolling out a year and a half ago,” explained Isabelle Colbrandt of Lidl to Het Laatste Nieuws. “We thereby support the COP21 objective of Paris, which is the agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions so that global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius. We already ensure that our fruit and vegetables are more locally produced, as well” she added.

    “Our fish is already 100% sustainable and our pork has been awarded the “1 star better life” label since last year. Milk was the next logical step. Every year, we make 10% of our range more sustainable. This way, the customers can be sure that any brick they take, comes from grazing cows,” she said.

    The “meadow milk” label comes from the Netherlands, but Lidl ensures that all milk in their stores will be completely Belgian. “There are enough local dairy farmers who meet the conditions,” they said.

    “Not only does it give a better feeling to drink milk from happy cows, but pasture milk also contains more omega-3 fatty acids than stable milk,” said Animal Production Professor Stefaan De Smet (UGent) to Het Laatste Nieuws. “Up to three times as much, even. They have a positive influence on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and inflammations. Pasture cows eat fresh grass for a few hours a day, while stable cows mainly get corn and silage. The animals also have more exercise,” he added.

    Annually, Lidl sells 52.4 million litres of milk. The supermarket ensures that the switch from stable to pasture milk will not influence the price. “Just like with our pork, it must remain the same. Mostly, we hope that the market will follow and that everyone will raise their standards. Meadow milk is the standard in the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands. Why should it not be possible for us?” Colbrandt said.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times