Life-cycle assessment of dairy products-Case study of regional cheese produced in Portugal

Óscar Soares Nunes, Pedro Dinis Gaspar, José Nunes, Paula Quinteiro, Ana Cláudia Dias, Radu Godina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Nowadays, there is a growing promotion to label products ecologically in European markets. Knowing that daily products have relevant environmental impact associated with their production, it is of utmost importance to analyse all the related production processes for a better understanding of each process impact. The present study analysed the potential environmental impacts of a Portuguese regional product, the Beira Baixa cheese, coming from the largest national sheep milk region. So, a life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology is used from -cradle-to -gate, including the supplying of the animal feedstock. Impact calculations are performed using the ReCiPe midpoint 2008 method, allowing an analysis of the environmental impacts contributing to climate change, terrestrial acidification, freshwater and marine eutrophication of all productive processes. The results have shown that the greatest impacts occur within the milk production process for all four selected impact categories. This happens mainly due to the fodder cultivation process, also necessary to produce animal feed, which contain processes of fertilization and land preparation. The enteric fermentation and manure management processes have also shown relevant contributions. The impact assessment also showed that the cheesemaking industry has practically insignificant impacts. Nonetheless, the cheesemaking industry can promote their business with these results, by advertising and marketing their product as environmentally friendly, with production processes causing reduced impacts, and therefore also their products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1182
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2020


  • Cheese production process
  • Cradle-to-gate
  • Dairy industry
  • Life cycle assessment
  • ReCiPe method


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