Greeks pay a high price for ‘fresh’ milk

Greek consumers prefer fresh milk but pay a high price for it – Greek milk is 40 percent more expensive than in other European Union countries, but is it all actually fresh or even Greek? Maybe not, the numbers show. Milk manufacturers say 720 million liters of milk are produced annually in Greece. But Greeks consume about 2.2 billion liters annually, so another 1.3 billion are imported. The manufacturers claim that these imports are used in other dairy products and not sold as fresh milk. But only production directors at milk factories know the truth. According to law, they don’t have to state the milk’s origin on distribution labels. That means that the product acquires the nationality of the country in which it is packaged: If it’s packaged in Greece, it’s Greek milk. However, problems arise if domestic fresh milk is «topped up» with imported milk. Imported milk must be pasteurized in its country of origin. Then, after the milk is imported, it must be pasteurized again in the country that distributes it. This damages the milk’s quality. As for the freshness of the supposedly Greek product, experts say that the appellation «fresh» is a Greek invention, and essentially nothing more than a marketing ploy. In no other country in Europe is pasteurized milk called «fresh» when it is packaged and then distributed from one end of the country to another. It is simply called «pasteurized» and sold under this label throughout Europe.

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