Contamination in the Isère river in Southeastern France

Your French cheese is polluting rivers

News Jul 15, 2021

Have you heard of Lactalis? It is the largest dairy company in the world, and owns many easily recognisable brands like Rachel's Organic, Galbani (Italian cheeses), and many French cheeses like the camemberts Président, Boursin, La Vache qui Rit...

It is also a very secretive family-own company. The French investigative journalists of Disclose revealed last year many disturbing aspects of Lactalis, such as tax-dodging, hygiene issues... and pollution of rivers:

The inspector detailed that present at the surface of the water in the polluted stretch of the river was “viscous matter, thick, dark green”, as well as a “brownish matter” which he concluded corresponded “in all probability with an accumulation of sludge from water purification plants”. Quite simply, these were industrial discharges that should never have been found there.

Disclose found that since 2010, more than half of the Lactalis's French factories were in breach of pollution laws, despite repeated reports and inspections.

Last week however, the investigation paid off, and the French government has finally started investigating the pollution issues.

You can read the complete investigation (French / English) or watch the video version below (French only)