Got milk – Milk rescue

Product Fulfillment Center in Springfield had a lot of it, and it was all going to waste unless they could find someone who could use it.

Last Mile Food Rescue wasn’t even open for business yet, but I thought surely, I could find a few agencies who could make use of this milk. Milk provides a large percentage of daily nutrients – 58% vitamin D, 51% calcium 18% protein and many other vitamins and minerals. This is valuable nutrition hard to find in other foods!

Did you know that 12% of all the milk produced in the world is produced in the US? And even though US milk production is an efficient use of resources, a gallon of milk still requires 144 gals of water to produce (most of this is used to grow feed for milk cattle). Milk production has become more and more efficient over time. This milk was shelf stable meaning no refrigeration is required for storage due to a process called ultra-high temperature pasteurization. The milk is heated to 300 degrees for a few seconds to kill harmful bacteria and then stored in sterilized packaging.

There was a lot of this milk – 40 pallet loads or 3360 gallons, with a best buy date of Nov 15, 2020. Throwing it away would mean wasting close to a half a million gallons of water, not to mention the valuable nutrients we would be feeding the dump. At Last Mile Food Rescue, we believe that good food belongs to people, so I got to work and called or emailed anyone I thought could take advantage of this great food at no cost.

I was able to place all the milk at several agencies in greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. And engaging in this rescue before we opened LMFR was a great experience. I learned a lot about the rescue process – like how many pounds can reasonably fit in the back of a mini-van, and how a robust work process makes a big difference when you are interrupting the normal operating procedures of a food donor. The agencies that I worked with also have limitations – like storage space or the availability of volunteers to help unload. Learning these lessons now will make Last Mike Food Rescue a better service to the community when we open our doors in early 2021.

We’ll be running a pilot from Nov 15 – Dec 30th to learn all we can about food rescue and to work out any bugs in our technology or dispatching process. Would you like to be an early volunteer? Sign up or send a message to info@lastmilefood.org.

Sources:

https://www.usdairy.com/news-articles/what-is-the-carbon-footprint-of-a-gallon-of-milk

https://www.worldwildlife.org/magazine/issues/winter-2019/articles/milk-s-impact-on-the-environment

https://www.dairydiscoveryzone.com/blog/everything-you-need-know-about-shelf-stable-aseptic-milk