Success Story

Lactose-Free Milk, Low-Fat Cheese, and More Dairy Breakthroughs

Lactose-Free Milk, Low-Fat Cheese, and More Dairy Breakthroughs

1916: USDA began research on the manufacturing of butter, condensed milk, cheeses, and other dairy products. During the  1940s, a pilot plant was constructed with facilities for milk processing. Today, both Dairy Processing and Cheese Processing Pilot Plants exist. Utilization of these facilities have resulted in the development of new diary products with unique functional properties.

1961: Developed a method to prevent canned evaporated milk from gelling during storage.

1985: Developed technology to produce lactose-free milk, ice cream and yogurt. These products are being commercialized by Lactaid Inc. In  1994, a dehydrated version of lactose-free milk was developed.

1993: Technology was developed that led to the production of a low-fat mozzarella cheese which melts freely when heated. In 1995, the National School Lunch Program adopted the cheese for use on pizza. More than $44M worth of this cheese has been distributed through the Program.

1994: Developed a dehydrated butter powder from milk fat and other dairy ingredients and encapsulated it in an all-purpose flour. This powder required no refrigeration and can replace conventional shortening.

2000: Developed a novel milkshake with reduced fat and calorie content and with added fiber and nutrients. ARS partnered with Devine Foods, Inc. to create the milkshake.

2007: Developed technology to create biodegradable plastic from milk protein. This plastic has use as an alternative to petroleum-based plastic. Besides being used to make conventional products like plastic cups, milk plastic was used to create edible film. Like traditional food packaging, edible films can extend the shelf life of many foods, protect products from damage, prevent exposure to moisture and oxygen, and improve appearance.

Did you know?

  • In the US, around  9.2 million cows are being milked twice per day. A cow typically produces 6 gallons of milk each day. The best cows give over 25 gallons of milk each day. Cows are milked for an average of 3-4 years. A cow must have a calf in order to produce milk.
  • Whole milk contains around four percent fat and is a natural source of vitamins A and D. Vitamin D helps in body’s uptake of calcium, thereby preventing the disease rickets. Whole milk is recommended for children up to the age of two years.
  • Skim milk contains less than one percent fat. Both reduced fat and skim milk have vitamin A and D added to replace the naturally occurring vitamins that are reduced when the fat is removed. Children older than five years can safely consume skim milk.
  • Powdered milk was first made in 1802 by a Russian doctor. Because of its milk fat content, dry whole milk must be refrigerated, unlike nonfat dry milk.
  • It takes  1.5 gallons of milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream. The top flavors of ice cream are vanilla (30%), chocolate (10%), butter pecan (4%), strawberry (3.7%), and chocolate chip mint (3.2%). The ice cream cone made its debut at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.
  • About  1/3 of all milk produced is used to make cheese. It takes  1 gallon of milk to make 1 pound of cheese. The top varieties of cheese are mozzarella (33%), cheddar (32.8%), “Italian” (8.9%) and “American” (8.3%).
  • It takes  2.7 gallons of milk to make 1 pound of butter. Salt is added to butter to extend its shelf-life. Salted butter contains 1.6-1.7% salt and can be stored refrigerated for up to 2 months; while unsalted butter can only be stored refrigerated for 2 weeks.