After “Expired Food” at Greek Supermarkets, Time for “Expired Milk”!!!

Posted by in Economy, Society

We all have this experience: fresh milk goes bad two or three days after expiration date. Taste turns bitter, fat and water particles separate. We throw it away. This summer during the heat waves I made the unique experience that fresh milk went bad inside the refrigerator even before the expiration date, even before I had opened the milk carton. Now Greece plans to change this and extend the 5-days expiration up to 9-days. Target of the government is to reduce the prices for fresh milk in times of economic crisis and recession. With 1.30-1.80 euro per liter – supermarket price-, Greeks buy the most expensive milk in the European Union.

Five years ago, prices were even higher, with 2 euro per liter! 

“The Government opens the closed market of fresh milk by lifting the maximum duration of 5 days, the expired date according to which pasteurized/fresh milk is been sold to consumers.

According to information, Minister of Rural Development and Food Athanasios Tsaftaris and deputy Development Minister Thanasis Skordas are in progressed talks and agree to change the legal framework.

Target of the government is to decrease the milk prices and open the market also for foreign imports and sales by cooperatives to the big cities.Greece has the most expensive milk in the EU.

The general price difference is 31% higher in Greece, while in absolute sizes it reaches even 70%.In Belgium, Austria and Spain fresh milk is sold at 0.99 euro, in Germany and Holland at 0.89 euro.

In Greece the average price is 1.50 euro.

[The Greek Government claims that] the EU has not legal framework or official document determining the highest limit of milk duration days.The status of five days exists only in Greece (according to law 113/1999 that describes the pasteurization procedures and put the maximum duration date.

Following this law, milk producing companies describe the milk as ‘fresh’ something that does not apply to other EU countries.

There, pasteurized milk has duration 9-10 duration days. 

According to Minister Tsaftaris the milk must be sold with several indications like “fresh milk” with 2 or 2 or 5 or 10 days.These indications will allow the consumer to decide for the product s/he considers as “fresh”.

The reasoning of the Ministry is that the high milk prices are due to the limited duration that forces the companies to withdraw tonnes of milk form supermarket shelves. (Imerisia.gr)

And when I though high milk prices were due to uncontrolled profit and high transportation costs (see: “closed professions”) as we’ve been told the whole time, here come the Ministries of Development and Food to show me I have no idea…

EU Regulations on Fresh Milk/Raw Milk

For one more time I admit I am unable to find the EU regulations concerning the milk descriptions, production procedures and duration of fresh milk. For one more time, I saw me enforced to have to go through thousands of pages and dozens of Pfd without easy to find results. 

Therefore I checked with the milk regulations in Germany as it has very clear rules about the milk. BTW: In supermarkscheck.de one can find fresh milk sold at 0.48 euro. 

Of course, and despite what the ministry claims, there is the description of Fresh Milk – otherwise I would have bought the so-called “H-Milch” for years. H-Milch refers to 2-3 seconds heating at 135 degrees C with duration of 3 months.It refers to the pasteurization process according to which milk is being heat for 15-30 seconds at 72-75 degrees Celsius.In an unopened carton the milk has duration 6-10 days. in opened carton duration of 2-4 days.These is also the ESL-Milk, fresh milk with longer duration, heated for 2 seconds at 127 degrees C and immediately heat again at 90 degrees C.

KTG understands that the milk duration has directly to do with the heating process. If the Minister for Food & other nonsense will not change these regulations, I would rather soak my breakfast cereals in water…

UPDATE: Greek Rural Development and Food Minister Athanasios Tsaftaris dismissed the news on Milk with extended life. Please, Click here to read the whole statement as received by KTG in the afternoon.

Last week Greece’s Development Ministry legalized the sale of expired food, up to 3 months after expiry date.

Politics… Politics…

At the end of the day, KTG sees efforts by Development Minister (Nea Dimocratia) to reduce the prices of food items due to the harsh austerity the citizens are suffering and thus at any cost. And especially without previously consulting the Rural Development & Food Ministry (PASOK).

I long for the time when expired medication will be legal and thus before Greece expires as country, as state, as a whole.

PS they must be spraying us with ‘expired’ spray. Otherwise I see no reason why we chew, swallow and drink expired food and milk without reaction. Not to mention that the government takes advantage of the striking lack of knowledge among citizens of this country about EU regulations and consumers’ rights.