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Acid whey? Not us! Greek yogurt firms distance themselves from environmental concerns

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By Mark Astley+

03-Jun-2013
Last updated on 04-Jun-2013 at 09:47 GMT

Muller Quaker Dairy and Ultima Foods have moved to distance themselves from concerns about the potential environmental impact of Greek yogurt by revealing details of their alternative, ‘acid whey’-free manufacturing processes.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Canada-based Ultima Foods explained that it employs an “ultrafiltration process” to manufacture its iögo Greko Greek yogurt range - rather than the traditional 'acid whey'-producing centrifugation process employed by many Greek yogurt manufacturers.

New York-based Muller Quaker Dairy also sought to clarify that the manufacturing process used to produce its Muller Greek Corner range “doesn’t generate whey waste.”

‘Acid whey’ is a by-product of traditional Greek yogurt production processes.

Concerns about the potential environmental impact of ‘acid whey’ emerged last month. According to an article published on Modern Farmer , ‘acid whey’ is toxic to the natural environment. If it reaches waterways, it has the potential to deplete water oxygen levels and kill fish, the article added.

Smooth texture, “and no acidified whey”

In a statement sent to DairyReporter.com, Quebec-based Ultima Foods said that its “ultrafiltration process” produces “creamy and smooth” Greek yogurt, but no ‘acid whey’.

“Ultima Foods developed a process that reproduces the traditional way of making Greek yogurt – which is by filtering it through cheese cloth for 24 hours. While most Greek yogurts in Canada are produced from a centrifugation process, we have developed an ultrafiltration process,” said the statement.

“Unlike centrifugation, ultrafiltration produces no acid whey that could cause a negative impact on the environment. In summary, Ultima Foods is manufacturing iögo Greko with the ultrafiltration method for the following reason: smoother texture, a higher calcium level, and no acidified whey.”

Last week, New York-based Muller Quaker Dairy - the joint venture between PepsiCo and German dairy giant Müller – approached DairyReporter.com to disperse any environmental concerns about its Muller Greek Corner range.

“….our process doesn’t generate whey waste,” a spokesman for the firm said.

“In fact, our yogurt is consistently high quality because we add milk protein from strained milk to our yogurt to deliver the same delicious texture and taste every time.”

New “responsible” disposal methods

According to last month’s Modern Farmer article, US-based Greek yogurt manufacturers are “scrambling to figure out what to do with” the increasing amount of ‘acid whey’ being produced.

In response to the feature, leading Greek yogurt manufacturers, Chobani and Dannon, pledged to establish a wider range of “responsible” methods to dispose of the potentially-hazardous substance.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com, New York-based Chobani promised to explore “the best ideas and options for beneficial whey use.” While Dannon, which boasts the fastest growing Greek yogurt product portfolio in the US, vowed to “improve the usage of whey from a nutritional and environmental perspective.”

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2 comments (Comments are now closed)

This is the threat?

While I'm not trying to say that dumping whey into waterways is a good idea, I find it sad that the media (as well as consumers) are focusing on this while turning a blind eye to the fact that municipal waste is minimally treated and dumped into pretty much every waterway in the country. Satellite images show it spreading into the oceans. Fight a real threat people.

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Posted by Lab Tech who has handled wastewater
13 June 2013 | 17h24

Stupid waste of resources

Stupid waste of resources, nuff said, yogurt doesn't kill fish. Another 'green' hyped marketing ploy. Wake up America, you are being duped. Dan Sloane DO

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Posted by Dan Sloane DO
10 June 2013 | 09h28

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