The Milk System

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The Milk System

The Milk System

original title:

The Milk System

italian title:

Il sistema latte

directed by:


Jakob Stark, Martin Rattini


Florian Miosge, Kai Minierski


Gary Marlowe



Germany / Italy



film run:




release date:


festivals & awards:

Not only in Europe but also in China, milk is more popular than ever and a huge business. What once was a romanticised, seemingly innocent natural product has long since become a globally-marketed industrial product. One worth billions to the top players in the market. Marketing strategists continually set their sights on new target groups. Sustainability and consideration for local production methods are of no importance. Milk is an allegory for our global pursuit of growth and the insanity of industrial food production. The film takes a close look at to whose cost massive amounts of milk are produced, and whether the system, subsidised in the billions, is even tenable. From Denmark and Germany to Italy, from small-scale organic farmers to colossal milk factories in China, scientists, EU politicians, lobby groups and even cow-breeders in Senegal, all of them are part of a globally interconnected milk system: as winners and as losers. The interests of large concerns provide the driving force behind it all. They set the pace with a logic that is aimed towards permanent growth. They decide the prices und provide their existing consumers with a stream of new products. Most farmers follow these dictates and continually expand. Whoever fails to do so is left behind. Our environment suffers too; each litre of milk produced automatically means three litres of liquid manure. Where should it go? Is it morally reprehensible to breed fast-growing cows with increasingly short lifespans when milk isn't nearly as healthy for us humans as industry always claims? The film uncovers the global interconnections in a striking manner as we journey from Europe to Africa and China. Our habitat, countryside, social fabric, our health and the health of generations to come are all at stake. With the example of the milk industry, we can easily visualise which model of farming we want to have in the future. And we can also see which alternatives already exist and what we can do differently and better.