VegNews reports that recent research by Edinburg University for The Guardian revealed that about one in every six pints of milk is wasted. This amounts to a whopping 128 million tons of waste annually!
This waste of milk products is happening throughout production, during delivery, and at the hands of retail and consumers. But what’s truly baffling is that even with this tremendous surplus, the dairy industry continues to produce more milk. In fact, the USDA reported production rising 6% between 2014-2018.
So why does the industry continue to churn out dairy products when so much is being dumped and demand is clearly low?
It would seem that governments are all too willing to bail out the industry. Since 2015, the European Commission has purchased about over 480,000 tons of milk powder in a “demand intervention scheme,” storing and attempting to sell it.
According to The Guardian, however, surplus milk and milk powder doesn’t typically get sold to its original targeted consumer, but is instead dumped at low prices into developing countries, creating unbeatable competition for local farmers. This method, it would seem, is neither economically sound nor ethical: “Milk powder is commonly used in infant formulas in west Africa despite serious concerns about its health effects on nursing children.”
“Overproduction must be regulated within the European Union,” said Bocar Diaw, president of the Senegalese national federation of local milk producers, “stop relocating your problems to West Africa.”
Other ways the surplus is being dealt with include feeding the milk products back to farmed animals and, in some cases in the United States, simply dumping millions of gallons of excess.
Revealing an even more sinister attempt to deal with dropping prices, a 2016 class action lawsuit prompted by COK research accused dairy industry groups of antitrust violations that involved artificially inflating prices and killing 500,000 young cows to reduce the supply of milk. A settlement resulted in $52 million paid out to affected consumers.
As demand curdles and the dairy surplus continues, savvy companies are pivoting to plant-based production, taking a slice of the multi-billion dollar plant-based market. Since the launch of Compassion Over Killing’s campaign for a dairy-free BOCA brand, Kraft Heinz’s BOCA line has increased its vegan options. Join us: To get involved in urging them to ditch dairy altogether, sign and share our petition.
Ditching dairy is easier than ever. Get started at TryVeg.com.