No way. Way? Whey!

Day 351/365 - fat free Greek yogurt

Photo by Newbirth35 (Victoria Shephard) via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Back in January I posted about the Greek yogurt craze (which I also mocked a bit in February). As I noted then, the process of producing Greek yogurt raises some environmental concerns. Last week Dan Charles of NPR took a look at one of the problems, i.e., what to do with the whey byproduct:

Unfortunately for Greek yogurt makers, their whey isn’t nearly as valuable as what you get from cheese-making. The whey from the Fage or Chobani factories contains fewer solids and is more acidic. So far, nobody’s figured out a way to make money from it.

What’s more, you can’t just dump it into some nearby river; that would be an environmental crime.

George Bevington, an engineer who deals with wastewater treatment in Johnstown, says the whey would set off a boom of sugar-eating bacteria, “and that means there’d be no oxygen left in the river, and that means there’d be no fishies left in the river!”

Whether or not you’re a fan of Greek yogurt, the story is worth checking out. Head here for the full audio, as well as a short text version and a link to the full transcript. Then, for additional links about Greek yogurt, check out my earlier post.


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