Greek yogurt has been praised for years for being a miracle health food. A thick and creamy yogurt with more protein and less carbs than regular yogurt? Sign me up! Unfortunately, there is a dark side to the creamy Greek good-ness. Greek yogurt is actually a pretty wasteful and hazardous product to produce. The reason greek yogurt is so thick and protein rich is that it’s all curds and no whey, which means the curds and whey have to be seperated and the whey disposed of. For every 3 lbs of milk, only 1lb of Greek yogurt is produced. At first glance, this doesn’t seem that harmful, but after a looking into it a little I found that the whey that is separated is what's called “acid whey”. Acid whey can be used in very small amounts to fertilize land, which seems great but if it runs into water ways it is highly toxic, and lowers oxygen levels, which kills fish and other water and sea creatures. Greek yogurt is a $2 billion per year industry, so these companies aren’t just dumping a little bit of acid whey into the earth. Chobani alone dumps about 8,000 gallons, twice a day, 7 days a week (modernfarmer.com). The issue is with the scale, as it always is with the agricultural industry; supply and demand is what’s killing our environment. When you have so many people wanting greek yogurt, you have to increase dairy farm sizes to produce more milk, which means more resources consumed and more pollution produced (onegreenplanet.org). But it’s ok! Because there is always a solution! If we continue the way we are now, things are only going to get worse and we are straining our planet for resources as it is, but there’s no point in telling anyone about harmful industries or practices like it’s the end of the world, because it’s not. Lucky for us there are a million little sustainable practices we can all implement to keep mother earth alive, and well at that. If you’re an avid greek yogurt lover and consumer reading this, try regular yogurt, or a dairy-free option. Dairy-free options are delicious and require zero cows or dairy farms, which means no acid whey, no methane production, and less pollution! I hope this helped you realize that everything we do has an environmental impact, and how careful we have to be as consumers and (if you are one) omnivores. Stay happy, healthy, and green, everybody!
Junior. Foods and Nutrition Major.
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