Find Solution for Greek Yogurt’s Toxic Byproduct


Target: The Food and Drug Administration

Goal: Find a solution for acid whey, the byproduct of Greek Yogurt, or halt the production of it in the United States

Acid whey, a byproduct of Greek yogurt production, is toxic for the natural environment. Even so, manufacturers are creating it en masse and still don’t know what to do with it. Growing popularity for the product means increased production, and safe means of disposal (or better, usage) of the whey must be found before yogurt is processed at higher rates. Because the toxic substance can wreak havoc on waterways if handled improperly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must find ways recycle every ounce of this product or halt the production of Greek yogurt altogether.

Manufacturers are already toying with a few different ways to get rid of the byproduct; by fueling New York power plants and adding it to livestock feed, Chobani and other companies are reducing the amount of whey they produce, but they remain desperate to get rid of it even faster. For every three to four ounces of milk used, only one ounce of yogurt is produced. The remaining substance becomes acid whey, which contains lactose and lactic acid from fermentation, and there is simply too much of it to deal with effectively.

A Modern Farmer article recently claimed that the dispersal of the harmful waste could “turn a waterway into what one expert calls a ‘dead sea,’ destroying aquatic life over potentially large areas.” When too much organic matter is discarded into a river, it cannot properly oxidize and therefore uses other sources to decompose. This process depletes the oxygen that fish and other aquatic animals need to survive.

Still, if yogurt companies, with the approval of the FDA, can find safe ways to use the toxic waste to fuel power plants and feed livestock (which is apparently safe) on a mass scale, without disposing of it in a natural environment, then the production of the yogurt does not have the potential to do harm. But if there is no effective way to dispose of the excess whey, then the FDA is obligated to either reduce or halt the production of Greek yogurt. It is irresponsible to permit the development of a toxic chemical for the sake of consumerism, especially when acid whey has been problematic in the past. Urge the FDA to take action to protect the environment from widespread devastation.


Dear Food and Drug Administration,

The straining process used to make Greek yogurt yields a toxic byproduct called acid whey, and it has the potential to destroy waterways if handled improperly. While manufacturers are finding new and safe ways to use the product, such as by fueling power plants and feeding livestock, there remains an excess of whey that these companies cannot adequately dispose of.

I urge you to find safe ways to dispose of or recycle all excess acid whey before it becomes problematic to the environment. It is too risky to wait until yogurt production reaches new highs and the managing of acid whey becomes even more difficult. If yogurt production must be reduced or halted in order to protect our ecosystems, I urge you to do so until safe means of disposal are found. Improper management of this byproduct means devastation for our environment. Please take action now.


[Your Name Here]


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One Comment

  1. R. McTaggart says:

    Hi The cheese factory in the town near where I live uses the whey to make ‘whey butter’ and the expression: ‘whey butter is whey better’ applies. Why or How? You might ask, well because whey provides the precursor enzymes for glutathione production the #1 detoxifier by the liver.

    Thought this might inform.


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