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Homogenization of Milk and Milk Products offers a detailed description of how the homogenization process occurs in modern facilities.

If you want to learn more about homogenized milk (and other foods) check out the great book: Can You Trust a Tomato in January?: The Hidden Life of Groceries and Other Secrets of the Supermarket Revealed by Vince Staten (1993 - Touchstone Books) 






What does it have to do with bottles of vomit?

Mmmm, Mmmm. Mmmm. 

There's nothing quite as nice as a cold glass of milk with your favorite cookie (Oreo, chocolate chip- you choose). 

While consuming this great "meal", you happen to read the container of milk. 

The milk is homogenized - huh? 

What the heck does this mean? 

First, lets discuss what milk is - obviously it's the opaque white (or yellowish) liquid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals. 

The milk consists of fat globules suspended in a nutrient solution. These globules of butterfat will separate easily from the milk - they float to the top of the solution, as what we commonly call cream. The left over liquid is skim milk. 

Let's suppose that you don't want to separate the milk from the butterfat. After all, milk that separates into different layers is unappetizing. 

Your solution - shoot the milk through a really fine nozzle to break up the fat globules. As a result, the butterfat does not rise to the top and the milk is creamier - this process is called homogenization. 

This nifty process was first patented by Auguste Gaulin in 1899, but it was a real tough sell. 

Why, you may ask? 

Here's why: 

Consumers were used to the cream line at the top of the bottle of milk. 

What to do? What to do? 

The McDonald Dairy in Flint, Michigan had a unique solution way back in 1932. If they could convince the people that homogenized milk was better for the digestive system, then they could sell lots of homogenized milk. 

Here's how they did it: 

They hired a bunch of guys. They split them into two separate groups. One group consumed homogenized milk and the other consumed non-homogenized milk. After a short period of time, they vomited the milk back up! 

The salesmen then carried the jars of vomit around with them to show consumers that homogenized milk was best. 

It's hard to imagine how they actually did this. 

I can see it now:

Knock, knock.
The lady of the home comes to the door to see who it was.

 
The salesman responds with some line like "Hi! I'd like to show you some jars of vomit to prove to you that homogenized milk is best."
I'm sure she welcomed him with open arms. 

Yuk! 

Should we assume that the jars of vomit worked? After all, we are still drinking homogenized milk today. 

Useless?  Useful?  I’ll leave that for you to decide.

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