The Icelandic Consulate in New York City confirmed that the use of hormones and antibiotics is banned in Iceland, which makes Smjör safer to eat than most American butters, which use milk from cows administered hormones and antibiotics.
In addition, Iceland’s climate and relative lack of pollution lead to healthier grass, on which the cows graze in the summer. During the harsher winter months, the cows are kept indoors and are fed a diet of hay (dried grass), silage (fermented grass and other field crops) and protein supplements. As I have written previously, grass-fed food products are much healthier for us than products from corn-fed animals.
Some information I found online stated that the combination of Iceland’s climate and pristine environment obviated the need for the use of pesticides and other chemical sprays. While this makes sense, I could not verify this with a government source. (An e-mail I sent to Iceland’s Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture has yet to be answered.)
Finally, the Icelandic Consulate sent me a link to a Web page—in English!—describing MS Iceland Dairies, the producer of Smjör products:
“MS Iceland Dairies (Mjólkursamsalan) is a cooperative organisation that includes over 700 of Iceland’s family-run dairy farms and other milk producers across the country.”And for those worried about the environmental impact of eating butter shipped from Iceland:
“All our products are made using only 100% carbon-free electricity. This advantage exceeds the environmental counterbalance for the methane output inherent in local ruminant agriculture.”