Food for 9 Billion: Wasted milk

Photo by CJ Sorg via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Marketplace has run a number of different pieces so far in its yearlong public-media project, Food for 9 Billion. Yesterday they ran two more that focused on food waste, with a special emphasis on wasted milk.

The first, from Jori Lewis, looks at attempts to deal with the problem of excess milk production among Senegalese cattle herders:

The herders use the milk their cows produce. The women make some into butter, and some into lait caille, a kind of soured milk…. But there is often too much. They can’t share it with their neighbors, because neighboring herders have their own milk. And the same thing is true at the nearest weekly market. Everyone has milk. And most people in cities — if they drink milk — use powdered milk imported from Europe. ‘When there is a lot of milk, we don’t know what to do with it all,’ [says herder Hamadou Seydou Bâ:]. ‘Eventually, we have to throw it out.’

The second, from Adriene Hill, looks at waste closer to home, especially in the cafeterias of US schools. As Hill notes, though,

kids aren’t the only offenders…. Milk spoils in the fridge. We pour it in coffee that we don’t drink. We forget it in the hot car. According to a USDA calculation, we toss the equivalent of about a third a glass of milk per person, per day. Which, if I do a little math here, 310 million people, ounces into gallons, gallons into pounds of milk, how much milk cows produce — that’s about 800,000 cows worth of milk … down the drain.

Both pieces are worth a listen (or read), so check out the links above.


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