This Milk is Nothing Like Milk, Mothers Complain

The milk that consumers complain about is sold in the bodegas, on the rationed market. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 September 2020 — The authorities of the Havana Dairy Complex responded to the complaints some mothers sent them about “a different aspect” they had noticed in the “fortified milk” that the government sells each month for children under one year, in the network of bodegas through the ration book.

“For months the milk that they are giving us for the children is whiter and does not dilute the same, I have to put it in the blender. The taste is not the same as always, and you have to alter it, add vanilla or any flavoring, because if not, the child spits it out,” Gertrudis García, the grandmother of a nine-month-old baby, tells 14ymedio.

“I don’t know what’s different about it but lately it’s been like this, very strange, but what to say? Where to go to complain? At least now it’s coming in bags. Some time ago they sold it in bulk, which was a disaster, there were grains of rice in that milk,” she consoles herself.

Dailys Álvarez Delgado, director of Quality and Technology for the Havana Dairy Complex, told the official newspaper Granma that “although from a sensory point of view” there is a change in the product, when the product is analyzed it does not present “any type of irregularity in its physical-chemical composition.”

In addition, she insisted that, according to this analysis, the fortified milk that was distributed, from the Pinar del Río Dairy Products and Confectionery Company, “meets the required standards, both from a nutritional point of view, as well as in appearance, smell and taste.”

Despite the protests of the consumers, Álvarez Delgado insisted that it is not a different food and that it meets the same requirements for percentage of fat, moisture, acidity and protein.

The official press, beyond talking about the chemical composition, did not provide more details to the mothers who complained, nor did the press miss the opportunity to point out the American ‘blockade’ (i.e. the embargo), which prevents them from ensuring “the same suppliers” and forces the dairy industry to work “with powdered milk from different markets.”

As they pointed out, this latest milk that is being sold in the bodegas comes from Poland, but without specifying more details. Official information also specifies that this year, as a plan, 48,000 tons of powdered milk should arrive in the country, at a cost of between 3,400 and 3,600 dollars a ton.

“Taking into account the sector to which this milk is directed, there is great rigor in the control, from the fortification process to the finished product. Whether it is yellower, thicker or finer will depend on the production plant and the technology that it has been used in the country of origin,” said the director of Regulation and Control of Production of the Pinar del Río Dairy Products and Confectionery Company.

Despite what the palates of the children and the perception of their family  members indicate, directors from the Pinar del Río diary insist that, after reviewing “all the traceability of the production” of the milk powder, it was concluded that “the milk in question dissolves adequately… the taste is correct,” and “none of the sensory or microbiological characteristics are affected.”


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.