Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The UHT route to long-life planet

It’s enough to put the nation off breakfast. Civil servants have suggested that Britons put long-life milk in tea and pour it on their cornflakes to save the planet from global warming.

Officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have made a serious proposal that consumers switch to UHT (Ultra-High Temperature or Ultra-Heat Treated) milk to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It is part of a government strategy to ensure that some 90 per cent of milk on sale will not require refrigeration by 2020. That most shoppers would not even know where to find UHT milk in shops (the cartons are discreetly placed near baking ingredients) does not seem to have deterred government strategists. The move would mean a big shift from fresh-milk consumption to long life. In Britain 91.6 per cent of milk sold is fresh. UHT, powdered milk and baby milk make up the rest of the market.

Officials have calculated that by reducing chiller capacity in supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops, carbon emissions would be significantly reduced. The move is not against the domestic use of fridges; UHT milk, once opened, must be refrigerated.

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