Milk Got Taste?
There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh milk, but between the cow and a glass of store bought milk, something may be happening to its taste. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Duncan: Milk consumption has declined over the past 30 to 40 years. It’s been well-documented that every year it seems that or less milk is being consumed.
Susan Duncan is a professor of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech. She says the decline in milk consumption is due in part to the fact that there are many other competing beverages, but it also may be due to the milk’s taste.
Duncan: Fluorescent lighting, the traditional lighting used in retail cases, does affect the flavor and the nutrient quality of milk. We have known that for many years. The problem has occurred when we have used primarily plastic packaging that does not provide any kind of light barrier or protective agents for the milk nutrients and flavor.
Fluorescent light creates an energy that the vitamin riboflavin and some other molecules in milk will use. They get excited and they transfer that energy to other molecules in milk that create flavor problems. It also causes the potential for other nutrients to become less valuable as a vitamin.
When milk is exposed to fluorescent light, the flavor changes so fast that consumers can tell the difference within two to three hours of time. That means that when milk is placed in the retail case, it often sits there for a period of time before someone purchases it. Then the person buys this new carton of milk and finds out that it doesn’t really taste very good.
In our next program, we’ll hear what steps are being taken to give us back fresh-tasting milk. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.