I had a conversation at the Burren College of Art about the milk served in the campus cafe. I thought it was curious that, unlike in the States, milk from the carton didn’t make me ill. I was told they serve only full fat milk and the industry from which it comes is “highly regulated.”
My instinctive alarmed reaction to the term is a product an American upbringing. We have learned that “highly regulated” in the States means corporate interest is represented at the expense of environmental and human health considerations but, unsurprisingly, truly democratic governments have different priorities…
Further conversation clarified that in Ireland the term meant the cows are free range (all animals are free range), have an excellent quality of life, and the facilities are clean meaning that the milk doesn’t require an extensive pasteurization process. In sum, Ireland has a wholly different relationship with food. When I explained the factory food system in the U.S., I witnessed a reaction that suggested the reality is unthinkable.
“Room for improvement,” we concluded: