Saturday, 20 October 2007

UHT milk? Thanks but no thanks

An idea being floated by DEFRA and leaked by 'The Times' has produced more than a little indignation this week. The suggestion is that this country should virtually give up on pasteurised milk and change to UHT milk instead. Why? It's to reduce global warming they say. The one and only positive about UHT is that no chilling is required until the consumer opens the carton. Thus goes the theory all that energy to keep the product cold in shop or supermarket can be saved and thus lessen climate change. After all Germany, France and Spain love the stuff so why not the UK?

Now I don't know whether it's something in our genetic make-up but the British certainly seem to prefer the fresh product even though you have to be vigilant about the date on the bottle. I certainly dislike the UHT and would hate to consume it. As to the energy use have the DEFRA people evaluated the argument? Probably not. The UHT milk has to be heated to a higher temperature in the first place although one blog I read just now stated that UHT is heated for seconds rather than the many minutes afforded to the pasteurised so those two factors might cancel each other out - I would like to see some statistics on this. A suggestion on another blog is that supermarkets will divert other products to the now unused chiller cabinet space; it's all starting to get complicated isn't it. And what about the vast array of soft drinks for sale, coca-cola and the like, do so many of them really need to be refrigerated?

I'm all for looking at ways of reducing both our carbon footprint and energy use but would this be the way to go. Answer from me is a resounding "No".

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