How Lab-Made Milk Could Change The Food Industry

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How Lab-Made Milk Could Change The Food Industry
Researchers are experimenting with ways to make milk and other dairy products without the need for cows or costly environmental impacts.

Much has been made about the rising price of gas but milk prices aren't too far behind. The staple of so many meals for Americans is already in transition with more people opting to purchase non-animal milk. Currently 10% to 15% of milk sold is nut or soy based but now theres a new push for laboratory produced dairy products.

Garrett Broad is an associate professor at Fordham University who has written and researched developments in the dairy industry. 

"It's a combination of some new-school technology and old-school technology," Broad said. "Genetically engineered microbes to create milk proteins are put into big fermentation bioreactors and then create actual animal milk protein. It's just like the real thing without any animals involved."

Broad says there are already some products already in the market as people are interested in looking for other alternatives that could have better benefits.

"This is going to be in a different category than plant-based milk and that means it has different environmental impacts," he said. "This theoretically could remove some of those environmental and ethical concerns."

Lab-made dairy goes through several steps:

— Microorganisms produce milk proteins

— Milk proteins are harvested and combined with fats, carbohydrates and salts

— The substance forms into a curd

— Product is packaged and sold

Broad says lab-made dairy is still an emerging idea, and that it will be up to consumers to prove its worth.