There’s no need to worry about Icelandic cheese being made with Irish butter, the main thing is to keep the Icelandic cream unspoiled.
So says Guðni Ágústsson, manager of SAM – the Association of Dairy Processing Plants – about the measures taken to ensure enough supplies of butter and cream over the holidays.
160 tons of Icelandic butter have been exported so far this year, which is only one third of the quantity exported the year before.
Guðni told RÚV there’s no need to worry about mixing foreign butter with Icelandic dairy products, or cheese in this case.
“Actually, this is quality butter but the main thing is to keep the cream and butter unspoiled because that’s where people would taste a difference,” Guðni, who is also former Minister of Agriculture, said.
“People wouldn’t buy this butter if it was displayed next to Icelandic butter. We love our butter, it’s yellow and soft and master chefs say it’s the best butter in the world.
This is only a temporary situation; we have imported butter before but this time it’s because of an overturn in fat consumption so we have to get this butter from our Irish friends and use it to make a few, selected products.”
But since there’s always been talk of the importance of protecting Icelandic agricultural products, Guðni was asked why taking this step isn’t a big deal.
“It’s only temporary, that’s the key. It’s regrettable for the farmers that this has come up. We want to keep [dairy products] Icelandic but we just need this wee bit to be able to celebrate a Christmas where people can have all their butter and cream,” Guðni replied, adding that the dairy stock would go up again and that the future ahead was bright for both consumers and farmers.