I read an interesting news story this past week, about Greek yoghurt and its’ potentially hazardous by-product, acid whey. I thought I’d share the main points here with you.
Greek yoghurt is different from normal yoghurt because it is strained and more acid whey is released from the product. This process makes a thicker and creamier yoghurt, but also requires much more milk to produce the same amount of yoghurt (instead of a 1:1 ratio, it is a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of milk to yoghurt).
The growing popularity of Greek yoghurt (now a 2 billion USD market) over the past few years has meant that there is a significantly larger amount of acid whey being produced. Acid whey is similar in acidity to orange juice, and right now, there are not a lot of uses for it. This is unfortunate, because the acidity means that it cannot simply be dumped (there are laws against it), as the high acidity would mean that as it decomposed, it would use too much oxygen in the waterways and would cause significant die-off of marine organisms.
Currently, there are a few solutions, but they do not seem to be able to serve the supply of acid whey, and yoghurt companies are looking into alternative and more cost-effective ways of utilizing the whey. Some of these solutions include mixing the acid whey into animal feed (though it is essentially a junk food for them), or mixing it into manure and through anaerobic digestion, convert it into biogas and electricity. Proposed solutions include separating the protein from the whey to use in infant formulas, or separating the lactose and using it in food products.
If you’d like to read more about this issue, visit Modern Farmer here.
There are some people who make their own Greek yoghurt that have found ways to use acid whey – in baking, pickling, and other home remedies (see here, here, here, and here). I am glad that there is a way for people to make use of this by-product, though it probably is not to able to scale to the size that the Greek yoghurt companies would require.
I found it so intriguing that a health food that has been touted by media and that I have noticed growing in popularity, has such an unfortunate side to it. What do you think of this? Do you eat Greek yoghurt?
P.S. Rain barrels are still for sale at http://rainbarrel.ca/INDEVOURS/! We'll be selling them at the Kitchener Market on June 22nd, so order yours now and I'll see you there!
Welcome! My name is Katiana and I am a development professional pursuing my dream to live out Isaiah 1:17 to the best of my abilities. I am passionate about teaching and working with vulnerable families and children to improve their lives sustainably.
This blog is composed of my personal opinions, which do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of institutions or organizations that I may be or have been affiliated with.