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Wed May 22, 2013, 11:07 PM

Whey Too Much: Greek Yogurt’s Dark Side

Twice a day, seven days a week, a tractor trailer carrying 8,000 gallons of watery, cloudy slop rolls past the bucolic countryside, finally arriving at Neil Rejman’s dairy farm in upstate New York. The trucks are coming from the Chobani plant two hours east of Rejman’s Sunnyside Farms, and they’re hauling a distinctive byproduct of the Greek yogurt making process—acid whey.

For every three or four ounces of milk, Chobani and other companies can produce only one ounce of creamy Greek yogurt. The rest becomes acid whey. It’s a thin, runny waste product that can’t simply be dumped. Not only would that be illegal, but whey decomposition is toxic to the natural environment, robbing oxygen from streams and rivers. That could turn a waterway into what one expert calls a “dead sea,” destroying aquatic life over potentially large areas. Spills of cheese whey, a cousin of Greek yogurt whey, have killed tens of thousands of fish around the country in recent years.

The scale of the problem—or opportunity, depending on who you ask—is daunting. The $2 billion Greek yogurt market has become one of the biggest success stories in food over the past few years and total yogurt production in New York nearly tripled between 2007 and 2013. New plants continue to open all over the country. The Northeast alone, led by New York, produced more than 150 million gallons of acid whey last year, according to one estimate.

And as the nation’s hunger grows for strained yogurt, which produces more byproduct than traditional varieties, the issue of its acid runoff becomes more pressing. Greek yogurt companies, food scientists, and state government officials are scrambling not just to figure out uses for whey, but how to make a profit off of it.

http://modernfarmer.com/2013/05/whey-too-much-greek-yogurts-dark-side/

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Whey Too Much: Greek Yogurt’s Dark Side (Original post)
unrepentant progress May 2013 OP
defacto7 May 2013 #1
murielm99 May 2013 #2
ZombieHorde May 2013 #3
freshwest May 2013 #4
kenny blankenship May 2013 #5
kestrel91316 May 2013 #6
BrotherIvan May 2013 #7
colorado_ufo May 2013 #8
BrotherIvan May 2013 #11
GliderGuider May 2013 #12
BrotherIvan May 2013 #14
BillyRibs May 2013 #9
mainer May 2013 #10
BrotherIvan May 2013 #15
mainer May 2013 #16
BrotherIvan May 2013 #17
unrepentant progress May 2013 #13
BillyRibs May 2013 #18
Cartoonist Sep 2014 #19

Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:38 PM

1. That's Greek style yogurt.

Regular yogurt isn't processed the same way. Greek style presses out that whey, regular doesn't.

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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:40 PM

2. I have never liked that stuff.

Regular yogurt is fine, but the Greek variety does not taste good to me.

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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Wed May 22, 2013, 11:59 PM

3. I don't eat it very often, but I do like greek yogurt. nt

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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:17 AM

4. You can strain the extra liquid out of yogurt by using a coffee filter in a funnel over a Mason jar.

Then you have thicker yogurt. When you do that, you can toss the whey liquid in a smoothie. It's just yogurt, in small amounts, it shouldn't bother you.

I don't see why they can't figure this out, unless they are being careless. It should definitely not go into a stream, it could go into a compost pile. I've tossed yogurt into compost with no problem. Not drowning it with it, but no problem.

If they are making it so acidic, they can sell it as weed killer just like people kill off weeds in the yard with white vinegar.


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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 12:53 AM

5. Seems like they would sell the whey byproduct to co.s marketing muscle building products

Whey protein and its amino acids is the key ingredient in many a muscle building magic powder.

There is a logical place for all this shit to go.

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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 01:11 AM

6. Combine it with other organic waste materials and ferment it in biodigesters

 

to make methane. Burn the methane to produce carbon-neutral electricity.

Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

No reason it can't be fed to pigs or chickens, either.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #6)

Thu May 23, 2013, 01:22 AM

7. +1

Or repackage it as a fermentation medium for vegetables or use whey for food preservation. It's the old school way.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #7)

Thu May 23, 2013, 01:40 AM

8. Ouch!

But - I love a good pun!

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Response to colorado_ufo (Reply #8)

Thu May 23, 2013, 11:26 AM

11. I'm laughing with you, not at you

because I don't get it

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #11)

Thu May 23, 2013, 03:15 PM

12. Old school whey... nt

 

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #12)

Fri May 24, 2013, 11:54 AM

14. Ok you got me

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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 09:39 AM

9. This is the simple results of piss poor planning. and yet another reason for better regulation.

 

Whey is a useful by product of this industry. This can be easily concentrated in an evaporator, or spray dryer, and sold to other food processors as well as the old reliable stand by, Pig farmers who already use this by-product as a fertilizer on calcium and acid loving plants, as well as feed supplement. This is the same problem as always with greed as a motivator. nobody planned ahead in the rush to get this plant running. (I'm so happy I didn't take the job their.) I can guess what "Fires" their poor Maintenance crew has to Put out on a daily basis. I work for greedy Idiots just like this, (but I digress.). This is what Happens to a "Garage Business" when they grow too fast. They assume their Just in a bigger Garage! and fail to see their in with the Big leagues. and without a fire like this (DU) under their asses they would not be in a rush to solve it.

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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 11:16 AM

10. This "Greek yogurt" is disgustingly fake.

I've eaten Greek yogurt in Greece and it tastes completely different -- full of cream (not this low-fat crap they sell in the US), full of flavor. If you see "Greek yogurt" that's made with anything less than whole milk, don't buy it.

"Low-fat Greek yogurt" is an oxymoron. They're forced to thicken it with gelatins to reproduce the creamy real stuff.

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Response to mainer (Reply #10)

Fri May 24, 2013, 11:59 AM

15. Yes! Thank you

I love me some Greek yogurt (with honey for a special treat). But all the crap they are selling is NOT Greek yogurt. It's sad, when Fage first started, they did have a whole milk version, but now it's nowhere to be found. Now I get Lebne in Armenian markets or Mediterranean Yogurt Cheese at Trader Joe's, which are both made from strained kefir. Very thick, but a little different in flavor. I make my own kefir and have really wanted to get the cultures to make my own Greek yogurt. A revelation in breakfast foods when they put a tray full of yogurt, avocadoes and olives in front of me. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! It is the best.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #15)

Fri May 24, 2013, 12:39 PM

16. Real Greek yogurt and honey ... the BEST breakfast in the world

Especially if you add olives and some feta cheese!

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Response to mainer (Reply #16)

Fri May 24, 2013, 09:13 PM

17. Stop! That sounds so good

And I can never recreate it here, even with expensive Greek honey. It just doesn't taste as great. But it's enough for the memories.

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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Thu May 23, 2013, 04:22 PM

13. So once again nobody commenting actually bothered to read the article

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Response to unrepentant progress (Reply #13)

Fri May 24, 2013, 10:16 PM

18. Yes I read the piece, I then offered My 2Cents.

 

What do you want a term Paper?

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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Tue Sep 16, 2014, 11:02 AM

19. Guilt trip

I love imitation Greek yogurt. We have a grocery chain that sells food really cheap. While Safeway will charge a dollar or more per serving, I can get it for 50 cents. I always stock up when I go there. In fact, it's the main reason I go there. That's whey I feel horrible. To think that I am responsible for so much waste bothers me.

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