The fundamental principles for the production of nutritious Bio Bud milk are organic feed and animal-friendly husbandry:
High-quality organic feed forms the basis for species-appropriate, consistently organic and healthy animal nutrition. To meet these requirements, farmers must feed their ruminants at least 90 % organic roughage (grass, hay, clover and herbs). Only a maximum of 10 % of the animal feed may consist of concentrated feed (soya and cereals), with this feed also being of purely organic origin.
The cows spend most of the year outdoors: from spring to autumn, at least 26 days per month in pasture, with access to pasture for at least 13 days per month through the winter
Internationally, Emmi obtains around 10 % of its revenue from organic products. In Switzerland, around 12 % of the milk processed by Emmi is organic. The company is therefore the largest producer of organic dairy products in Switzerland.
Emmi only purchases organic milk awarded the Bio Bud label in accordance with the requirements of the umbrella organisation of BIO SUISSE organic producers (www.bio-suisse.ch), whose requirements significantly exceed the legal requirements for organic produce.
The most important BIO SUISSE requirements are as follows:
- Fully organic farm management with closed nutrient cycles and restricted use of plant protection products
- Strict requirements regarding minimum access to open pasture for dairy cows
- At least 90 % roughage (grass, hay, silage, maize)
- No preventive use of antibiotics
The discussion about the purpose of dehorning cows is one we are following closely and we are aware that cow horns are regarded as an important metabolic organ. In our opinion, the scientific evidence as communicated by the Demeter Association regarding a difference in the quality of milk (allergens, lactose (in)tolerance etc.) from cows with or without horns is unclear. The results of the research are based in part on methods that are not scientifically recognised or the sample size was too small. As a result, these results have been subject to varying interpretations by specialists.
Until relatively recently, it was common practice to keep horned cattle, but the majority of cattle are now hornless. Organic agriculture also permits the dehorning of organic calves/cows, as keeping horned cattle is more dangerous for the farmer and the cowsheds are more expensive due to the extra space required.
We are aware that milk and meat from horned cattle is available on a regional basis (e.g. “horn milk” from Mettmenstetten). Furthermore, milk from Demeter (biodynamically-certified) farms must come from cows with horns www.demeter.ch/de/index.php.
Emmi’s milk producers are obliged to fulfil the strict requirements of Swiss animal welfare legislation. It is important to note that Switzerland’s animal welfare legislation sets high requirements for livestock owners.
The Swiss federal government also promotes particularly animal-friendly practices with regard to livestock. It pays additional remuneration for particular efforts in the area of animal husbandry through the RAUS and BTS programmes (RAUS = Regelmässiger Auslauf im Freien (regular access to open pasture), BTS = besonders tierfreundliche Stallhaltungssysteme (particularly animal-friendly husbandry systems)). Some 82 % of dairy cows are already being kept in accordance with RAUS and around 41 % in accordance with BTS. Both programmes have seen continuous growth for many years now.
You can find details of the programmes at the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) under the following link: https://www.blw.admin.ch/blw/en/home.html
ÖLN stands for: Ökologischer Leistungsnachweis.
This globally unique Swiss standard takes a holistic approach to ecosystems and farms and comprises the following points:
- Keeping livestock in accordance with animal welfare legislation (Ordinance on Direct Payments (Direktzahlungsverordnung – DZV) Art. 12)
- Balanced use of fertilisers (DZV Art. 13)
- An appropriate proportion of biodiversity promotion areas (DZV Art. 14)
- Prescribed management of items in the inventories of national importance (Art.15)
- Controlled crop rotation (DZV Art. 16)
- Suitable soil protection (DZV Art. 17)
- Systematic selection and use of plant protection products (DZV Art. 18)
- Requirements pertaining to seeds and plants (DZV Art. 19)
- Requirements pertaining to special cultures (Article 20)
- Requirements pertaining to buffer strips (Article 21)
- The issuance of direct payments requires the recipient to fulfil or have fulfilled the requirements of the Proof of Ecological Performance (Ökologischer Leistungsnachweis – ÖLN) throughout its entire operation (DZV Art. 11).
SUISSE GARANTIE is a guarantee seal that may only be used for Swiss agricultural products. The guarantee seal is only available to producers who can demonstrate that they fulfil the required technical specifications. They must provide evidence of this as part of a product certification by an independent certification body.
The technical specifications are set out in industry regulations and include the following points:
- The milk must be 100 % Swiss.
- The dairy farms that produce the milk must fulfil the requirements of the Proof of Ecological Performance (Ökologischer Leistungsnachweis – ÖLN).
- The use of genetically-modified plants, animal feed or animals is not permitted.
Further information: www.suissegarantie.ch