Episode five: Ireland’s White Gold Boom

Ireland’s White Gold Boom

Ireland produces somewhere in the region of 13% of the world’s infant formula, and recent research has revealed that for every kilo of formula produced, the true carbon cost is anywhere between four and 11 kilos of greenhouses gases.  Alongside Australian expert in the economics of infant feeding Dr Julie Smith, who published a paper last year showing that infant formula production produces 4kg of greenhouse gases for every kg of dry formula made, Green Bites takes a deep dive into the environmental and ethical impacts of Ireland’s €1.3 billion White Gold Boom. 

Update from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine:

I received the following several days after the White Gold Boom episode was published. It seems approval from the DAFM’s perspective includes packaging standards rather than a company’s overall marketing strategy. The Department does not clarify what determines when the packaging must comply with EU legislation or standards in an importing country “as appropriate.”


Sincere apologies for the delay on this, please see below in response to your query:

Ireland is a leading producer of high quality, safely and sustainably produced dairy products, including infant formula, follow-on milks and growing-up milks.

All Infant Formula manufacturing plants must be registered in accordance with Irish and EU hygiene legislation. A plant cannot commence commercial manufacture of Infant formula, until the facility has completed the registration process with DAFM.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) carries out a range of controls to ensure that all dairy products produced in Ireland, including infant formula, comply with the relevant legislation.

In particular, packaging on infant formula product being exported from Ireland must comply with EU, Codex Alimentarius or the standards of the importing country, as appropriate.

DAFM checks include verification that the packaging complies with the relevant standards.

For info. Codex Alimentarius standards may be found at the following link:


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2 comments on “Episode five: Ireland’s White Gold Boom

  1. Deirdre Sheridan says:

    Well researched and interesting show, thank you for raising awareness on a subject that affects all sections of society whether people know it or not. ” Society pays the cost”

    1. ellieobyrne says:

      Thank you very much, Deirdre!

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