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Photo: <a href="">Chris Barker</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Chris Barker, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Chobani responds to toxic whey concerns

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New York-based Greek yogurt maker Chobani is responding to criticisms that its process creates large amounts of toxic waste.

There's been a media hub-bub since last week about the so-called dark side of the two-billion dollar Greek yogurt industry.

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Reported by

Julie Grant
Reporter and Producer

A report on the Modern Farmer website explains that making one ounce of smooth, creamy, protein-packed yogurt, like Fage or Chobani, takes about four ounces of milk.  The remaining three ounces are strained out into a thin, runny liquid called acid whey.  It's roughly as acidic as orange juice, and it can't just be dumped.  Modern Farmer says whey decomposition is toxic to the natural environment.  It robs oxygen from streams and rivers, and can destroy aquatic life.

Spills of cheese whey have killed tens of thousands of fish around the country in recent years.

On its website, Chobani says it wants to set the record straight.  The company says the "acid" in acid whey refers only to the pH level - there are no added chemicals or acid.

Chobani says it's committed to finding responsible uses for whey.

Chobani says it returns its whey byproduct to farmers, and the majority is used as a nutritional supplement for livestock feed.  A smaller percentage is applied to fields as fertilizer, but only by farms with proper nutrient management plans.

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