Still not liking the taste of your “new” Pine Hill Dairy milk? Here’s why…

UPDATED: July 6, 2012

The recent trade dispute between Pine Hill Dairy and the government of Trinidad and Tobago is about package labeling – according to the news media.

With the ongoing dispute as a background we thought we’d revisit this article by Dr. Lucas that explains why you still can’t stand the taste of the new stuff, er, milk…

The following article was submitted to BFP by Dr. Robert D. Lucas.

Pine Hill Dairy’s “new” milk

Recently, in the local press, concerns have been raised about the labeling as “Fresh” and the refrigerated storage of ultra-pasteurized milk (UP). Pine Hill Dairy (PHD), in an attempt to address these concerns, placed full-page advertisements in the press. I will now explain the concepts of pasteurization, sterilization and fresh as applied to food products. A critical examination of the PHD advertisement is also given.

Pasteurization is the process whereby a food product is heat-treated, destroying all pathogenic or disease causing organisms present in the food. Pasteurization does not result in the destruction of all of the micro-flora ( organisms). present. Some of the organisms which survive pasteurization can cause spoilage. Therefore, all pasteurized foods must be held refrigerated (pasteurized canned hams, pasteurized milk etc.).

Sterilization is the process in which all pathogenic and non-pathogenic spoilage organisms, including most spores are destroyed. No attempt is made to destroy all of the micro-flora present, since such an action results in the destruction of nutrients as well as the texture of the food. In food, this process is called commercial sterilization.  Ultra high temperature (UHT) treated milk is a commercially sterile product.

According to the Code of the Federal Register (CFR) § 101.95 sub part F: Food Labeling. “The term fresh is used to describe pasteurized whole milk……; because the term does not imply that the food is unprocessed (consumers commonly understand that milk is nearly always pasteurized”). Title 21. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 2010. Department of Health and Human Services, USA.

When milk is heat-treated, sugars in the milk, in the presence of amino acids undergo the Maillard reaction (non-enzymatic browning). This results in a burnt or cooked flavor and the development of off colors. The longer the exposure to heat and the higher the temperature, the greater is the adverse effect. For this reason, all pasteurized foods are rapidly cooled down. UHT milk is no exception to this rule. According to (Anon). 2007.  “Dairy Foods Science Notes” Cornell University: “Ultra-pasteurized milks will often have more of a “cooked” flavor when compared to conventionally pasteurized milk.”

It should be noted here that, neither pasteurization nor sterilization destroys native alkaline  proteinases as well as bacterial proteinases found in milk. Also, when heated, lipolysis(break down of fats into free fatty acids) occurs.

“All of these processes affect the flavor of milk.”

An examination of the graph given by PHD as well as  the use of the term spiked, tend to indicate that the time taken to raise the temperature of UP milk from 80°C to138°C was instantaneous. PHD failed to point out that there are direct and indirect methods of heat treating UHT milk. When direct heating is done,the heat process for UHT milk takes 45 seconds.Goff (2010) “UHT Processing.” University of Guelph).  In food processing, the time taken to raise the temperature of a food from temperature x to temperature y, is called the “coming up time.” It is noticeable, that PHD does not indicate how long the coming up time was.

One is left to wonder why would PHD stop producing a product, with a shelf-life of six-twelve months at ambient (room) temperature, to which the consumers’ taste buds were accustomed, in preference for one with a shelf-life of three months and which must also be refrigerated.

Energy costs in Barbados are very high.  UHT procedures require complex equipment and a high level of technical know-how. “Complexity of equipment and plant are needed to maintain sterile atmosphere between processing and packaging (packaging materials, pipe work, tanks, pumps); higher skilled operators; sterility must be maintained through aseptic packaging.” Goff. (2010). Aseptic packaging of UHT milk differentiates if from UP milk. As a result, the latter must be refrigerated. It should be noted here that UHT milk has been produced in Trinidad since the 1970’s. Indeed, In 1973 I visited Nestle as a food science student to observe the process.

In food, the processor never has preconceived notions of the food preference of the consumer. This is what I find most amusing about the advertisement.

When the Coca-Cola corporation introduced new coke and tried to force it down the throats of the American consumers, the latter refused to purchase it.  Coke had to revert to its original formula. It is only when a company is a monopoly that, it can ride rough shod over the views of the consumer. The PHD advertisement alluded to tests being done locally. There was some mention elsewhere about overseas testings. No where was it mentioned if the tests were done by trained panels of local testers. Was the testing done in house or out sourced? Were statistical analyses of the data done? Was a consumer preference taste-test done, employing 1000 or so persons? The latter test gives a true indication of the likes and dislikes of the consuming population. Testing overseas is a waste of time, because taste varies from place to place.

Finally, the advertisement extols the fact that the pack for UP milk consists of six-layers. According to the Alaska Commission on Aging. (2006). “Senior meal planning guide.”UHT milk is packed in a five layer sterile laminated  “box.” In both instances, the packs for UHT and UP are non-environmental friendly.

Robert D. Lucas, PH.D.
Food biotechnologist.


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Consumer Issues

48 responses to “Still not liking the taste of your “new” Pine Hill Dairy milk? Here’s why…

  1. Politically Tired

    Interesting & enlightening reading, thank you Dr Lucas.

    I dislike the new milk & haven’t bought it since it was first produced, I buy direct from a farm & pasteurise myself or purchase Svelty skimmed milk, which is the most normal tasting packaged milk I can find.

    On a few occasions I’ve forgotten & had a latte whilst out, only to reject it almost immediately, the after taste is disgusting! I notice some supermarkets now stock PHD milk out of the chiller cabinets & the shelf space seems reduced & Pricesmart also request you buy at least 2 PHD products at a time, maybe to counteract falling sales? who knows.

  2. Speaking as a consumer, I still don’t see what the cry-babies are all about?

    The stuff is good enough for me, you don’t have to stick it in the fridge immediately and my cats adore it too – that’s enough endorsement for me.

    If everyone is so enflamed then buy a Guernsey and stick it in the back porch with a bucket and some hay, oh yeah, and a shovel for the patties which you can use as fuel to scald the milk to give it the same taste it has right now anyway…

  3. BFP? You jail me again, sigh…

  4. BFP

    Jail for Ian?

    Nah…. That’s wat some other peoples want!

    Like we say… give Ian US$5 million hidden away an turn him loose on Bajan politricks!

    Signed: A slightly still tipsy Clive

  5. Politically Tired

    Speaking as a consumer I’m annoyed that there is no choice of ‘fresh’ milk available anymore in the supermarkets. You like it Ian, fine, but just because you do, doesn’t mean to says its improved or tastes as before, just your opinion.

  6. Beefcake

    The smell and the taste of the new PHD milk affect me.

    There are a number of disenchanted persons with the milk. A Facebook group was set up, Pine Hill new milk is disgusting:!/group.php?gid=120125688020705&ref=mf

  7. Adrian Loveridge

    Politically Tired,

    I agree with you.
    It would be better to have a choice, even if some us have to pay a premium for something resembling fresh milk.
    I know when we re-open that our guests are going to hate the stuff and that will drive us to look for an imported alternative. That in itself defeats the objective of cost savings for PHD.
    And we were doing so well with Pine Hill, having
    switched to several of their natural fruit juices, from imported extra regional products.

    Why do they not consider a pilot scheme which offers a milk that many would prefer?
    Let the market decide.

  8. Glad you’re online Adrian – was at another site and read a public Court document & see you had meetings with both Peter Allard and Denis Lowe (I see Allard paid Lowe’s ‘Net & Cell bills even back in 2006 – apparently the current Enviro Min. had money woes all then) and was curious what the gathering was about? Just apropos of all that – Who bankrolled your Portuguese website please?

  9. Adrian Loveridge


    Just to get the facts straight.

    I have had ONE meeting with Minister Lowe, which had nothing to do with Peter Allard, but the crime situation in our area.

    I have never met the two gentlemen together.

    I met with Peter Allard once, many many years ago as he has (or had) a house close to Long Beach.
    I met with Bill McKenzie, three or four times at our hotel and once in Florida. All meetings were based on getting a happy resolve to the GHNS facility.
    I had absolutely no idea he was charging Peter Allard for his time spent with me.

    As for our Portuguese website. Axses Web Communications have always been great partners with many of our initiatives and they did this one for free.
    We had both hoped that it would have motivated other tourism partners to follow the lead. Despite not being featured in any Brazilian Tour Operators programmes website has generated interest and booking enquiries.

  10. On the face of what you say – I accept, but nevertheless in Canadian Court Documents there’s a grid which indicates on 25 May 2006 you were to meet with both Allard & Lowe? I freeze-framed the item in case it disappears… It also listed a subsequent meeting with yourself and Jane Goddard with Peter Allard in August 2006 as well?

    However, I am glad your site is Bajan-designed unlike what Kammie Holder was trying to probe the other day. But what I was asking is if you had any fiscal assistance in getting it off the ground? That you did NOT answer, almost thought I was dealing with a Politician? LOL!


    Ian Bourne says –

    “Speaking as a consumer, I still don’t see what the cry-babies are all about?

    The stuff is good enough for me, you don’t have to stick it in the fridge immediately and my cats adore it too – that’s enough endorsement for me.”

    May I ask – what’s embalmed milk that will keep almost to eternity before going rancid… have to do with how it tastes?

    I suspect Ian Bourne is one of those types who will eat a plate of food with 10 different items on it — and cant tell the difference between the taste of the lettuce and the curried goat from the carrots and rice…

    This UHT milk is an abomination that has been foisted on the Barbadian people. Imagine… 2010 and Bajans cannot go into a supermarket and buy fresh milk.

    BFP – in the interest of reasonableness, we ask you… please make a banner headline of this tragedy and regularly feature it – – like you do the DLP lies. Thank you.

  12. Actually, I have a restaurant review on a regular basis – I have examined waitresses smoking near patrons, when boneless products have shards, or if the owner goes out of their way to make sure you or I return on a regular basis.

    I offer my opinion and you choose to get personal, so who’s the truly mature person? Sigh!

  13. Adrian Loveridge


    There is not a political bone in my body.

    Just to repeat. Meeting with Mr. Allard and Dr. Lowe and I, never happened and if there was a meeting planned, then nobody told me.

    I am did NOT meet with Peter Allard and Jane Goddard, but I have spoken to Jane on occassions on the phone years ago.

    No! we did not get any fiscal support for the Brazilian website.

    I always remember the late Peter Morgan saying that if we do not give a Barbadian the chance to fill
    key positions, then how are we ever going to know if they gave do the job!
    Its a policy that I FULLY support.

    I do not know what was been spent on the new BTA (main) website but I am told it is run by a team of eight persons in Kansas. I have always felt that a website SO critical to the success of our tourism industry should be managed LOCALLY.
    It is clear to me that the advertising agency has had far to many problems simply because it is not familar with our geography and product.

    I am sure, ultimately, they will get it right, but at what cost to our tourism industry?

    Somehow the Nation in its front page headline today managed to inflate 640,167 to ‘more than 700,000’.

    I’ll forgive the actual increase of 2.9% to their 3%
    but almost 60,000 is a lot of missing people.

    Meanwhile St. Lucia long stay visitors are up 11.9% for the same period.
    Look at their new website.


    Re Ian Bourne – August 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm –

    You still have not explained what ‘milk’ that “you don’t have to stick it in the fridge” and stuff your cats like… has to do with the TASTE of the milk…

  15. Mathilde

    I was told this new milk is almost completely non-nutritional. The heating process they put it through destroys all the nutrients and breaks down even the proteins. As a mother whose little monkey likes milk very much I am a bit concerned about that.

  16. Milky Way? If you have reading problems there’s always Thelma Vaughn or the Challenor Home? I hear they have remedial reading programmes?

    But if you trace this thread – which means scroll up and look for previous comments? I said, “the same taste it has right now anyway” which means, uh, I tried it? Liked it?

    As in my original article where I quote myself once more, “I tried it and yes there is a difference but not so bad, I quite like it!

    What more are you looking for? A dissertation?

  17. BFP, responding to MW the Magnificent

  18. BadBob

    Next thing you know, they’ll mess with my RUM and crap up the flavor of that.
    Some people just need a good thump aside the head.
    *In fact, I haven’t had any milk since me dear sweet mither weaned me at age 37.

  19. mudhead

    It appears regardless of what the consumer thinks, Pine Hill, being a monopoly, has decided that the consumer does not need/want fresh milk. It’s easy to understand why. More profit. There will be less spoilage as the milk lasts longer. Why, because it’s not fresh.
    I doubt they will revert to fresh milk, but they should stop falsifying the product by putting “Fresh” on the container. In addition they should not put the milk in the coolers, but the shelf with the rest of the long life milk. This will save electricity and energy consumption should be on the minds of all.
    That’s my humble opinion…
    Oh yes, it also tastes horrible.

  20. WTF!

    First I must say, I am not a milk drinker.
    However my wife loves the liquid, but she refuses to drink the new PHD product. Says it tastes horrible.
    Just last week, I was in a queue at the supermarket checkout, and noticed the lady infront of me had a carton of the new PHD milk, so I asked her if she liked the new milk, and her response was “I only use it my coffee, so I don’t notice it, but my children don’t like the taste.”
    This triggered people standing in the line next to us, and the line next to them, to all launch into their thoughts on the matter.
    By and large, the general consensus seems to be that if you are using it with coffee, tea, cereal, it’s not a problem, but most people who drink milk, say they either didn’t like it, or preferred the old milk.
    As for PHD’s claims that they tested the product on the local market…..maybe I just missed it, but I don’t recall seeing anyone with samples at the supermarkets.

  21. Anonymouse Not By Choice

    I guess it’s all a question of what you are used to. When I lived in Barbados, I far preferred the UHT milk that was brought in from, I think, New Zealand. I never liked the taste of Pine Hill Dairy regular milk, it tasted very watered down.

  22. 47.

    What is the feasibility of an enterprising farm doing fresh milk and supplying the supermarkets. There must be some dairy producers who are willing to do this. A few years ago there were complaints that Pine Hill would only take some of the farmers’ milk.

    Now a market for fresh milk is there. Someone please do it. I would like to buy some.

    Hotels would surley buy it too because their clientele would demand it. This is no Bull sh_t, this is no gray man, it’s about good quality product. This is a big opportunity for some milk man/milk woman.

    Barbados used to be one of the islands that could boast of fresh milk. Now we’re like all the rest.

    Lazy and complainy. Just do it. F__k Pine Hill.

  23. BFP, pls release my response to ye olde Milky Way??

  24. Why is your filter grabbing my remarks, am I a Commie-Pinko??

  25. BFP

    Hi Ian,

    Snookered if I know why you’re p’ing off the computer gods. Maybe they don’t like your photo?

    Fixed again. No reason for it to grab one of your comments and not others that I can see. Maybe pixies in the works?


  26. Beefcake

    Maybe if Ian’s comments were less miserable or bordering on heckling they wouldn’t be put into a queue?

  27. I live to be persona non grata, life is so much more exciting!


    August 10, 2010 at 2:29 am – take a ride to Market Hill in St. George… there’s a dairy farm there – you’ll see the sign… they’re selling cows milk and other dairy products… Buy a bottle for Ian Bourne’s cats before their teeth drop out, while you at it…. Don’t wory about Ian – he doesn’t know the difference…..

  29. Politically Tired

    Milky Way, its great milk isn’t it? there’s another one above Holetown on the Highway, can’t remember the name will try & find out.

  30. My cats like the new milk over the old milk, before it was UHT or Evap for them… 😛

  31. Beefcake

    The new milk is perfect for cats. You can pour a saucer in the morning and it can stay out all day for the cats to come back to as they feel like, without it spoiling. Furthermore, by destroying the various good and bad bacteria, it will not be as harsh on the digestive systems of cats.

    CONGRATULATIONS, PINE HILL DAIRY – your milk is more fit for animals than it is for humans.

  32. Mathilde

    I have to laugh at the banter going on! Ian your poor cats! hahahahha
    The one above Holetown is in Trents by Greenwich Antiques I think, Im trying them out as soon as I buy a double boiler saucepan to pasteurize the milk myself (this way you avoid getting the burnt milk flavour of just boiling the milk), and I will be keeping my milk in a lovely glass caraffe, no yucky plastic or tetra pak to pollute my body with chemicals!

  33. Barbados – we only pretend to enjoy the 21st Century, we really prefer the 18th or before… Change? That’s what’s in your pocket, right?

  34. 47.

    Thanks MW, will check them out.

    The change we wish to see is in the dairy farmers- it is they who think they must be dependent on Pine Hill benevolence, but if it were me I would send overseas for a small pasteurising tank, import a small milk delivery truck and start taking orders and contracts from shops, hotels and persons like 47.

    I know someone whose Grandfather was a dairy farmer. He did exactly the above and it made him wealthy enough to buy farms, when others were crying they couldn’t sell their produce and had to sell their land.

    Pine Hill be damned there is a market for this,
    We don’ want no UHT coz it tas’ like cat piss.
    Farmers emancipate and take the baton,
    I gone.

  35. RealityCheck

    For all you lovers of MILK check out this link below
    (A little long but worth the reading – trust me);

    Robert M. Kradjian, MD

  36. WateryDan

    Anyone tasted the Cherry juice? pure piss water

    Even the juices taste watered down. Florida Natural orange juice for me

  37. The Watcher

    The PHD seems to think that they can increase their sales and hence profitability by offering Barbadians less for a greater price.
    This type of move to me can easily be filed under the heading: “Stupid pet tricks!”
    I’ve banned purchasing their products for at least two years now, not only because of this behaviour, but also because of the significant decline in quality.
    I can do better with my body and will!

  38. Politically Tired

    Florida natural juice is great! haven’t drunk Pinehill juices for a long time, even the unsweetened is too sweet & cloying.
    Had a Latte out this morning made with Soy milk, different, but much better than the Pinehill stuff (really can’t refer to it as milk anymore) no nasty after taste for sure.

  39. WantFreshMilk

    What’s been happening over the past year? My wife and I visit Barbados once a year. Last year we were very disappointed by the new UHT milk. My wife drinks milk every day in Canada, but stopped completely while we were here. I used it only for cereal but still really didn’t like the taste. I was hoping when we came back to Barbados this time there would be other options, but I see there is still nothing but UHT milk. Very frustrating.

  40. Red Lake Lassie

    I’m with you, I hate the taste of the UHT. It reminds me of a childhood where we drank powdered milk to save money. YUK!

  41. Green Monkey

    I was hoping when we came back to Barbados this time there would be other options, but I see there is still nothing but UHT milk. Very frustrating.

    I’;ve seen that Emerald City Supermarket at 6 Roads St. Philip has been carrying regular, pasteurized whole and 2% milk from a North American dairy. Might be a good idea to call them before you go to make sure they have it in stock if you live any distance away.

  42. WantFreshMilk

    Green Monkey, thanks very much! I also heard that Greenwich Dairy Farm in St. James has it so going to give that try.

  43. yatiniteasy

    Todays Nation pg 7 carries a large ad for Pine Hill`s New “Fresh Whole Milk” Fresh milk.yes, it is pasteurized, but not UHTIt is packaged in a red container.
    The Ad says :”Return of a Classic”…We listened to you, and now the classic is back in a brand new package!”
    So now Ian and hits cats can live on..and keep their teeth.

  44. yatiniteasy

    his cats

  45. What a pity Pine Hill caved in, but then when folk complained to me and I said I see no problem and why don’t they buy a cow… You’d be amazed how many people were actually looking to form a co-op to do just that? Sad! I won’t be buying the “Whole Milk” I will stay with UHT on a point of principle! 😛

  46. No PHD for me

    The new PHD milk got me off milk altogether. We now make our own oats milk for the cereals and I use Almond milk in my coffee.
    Let PHD either take their responsibility as a corporate citizen or suffer diminishing sales. And yes I also banned their fruit juices from our home because of lack of ‘fruit’.

  47. doug banyan

    Goat’s milk – the way forward – PHD finally pissed me off completely, the taste was just not acceptable. They could care less. If cats like it, good for them, if the owner of the cat’s like it good for him/her. PHD shows little understanding of its consumers likes or dislikes, but who is surprised at that?

  48. Crusoe

    That PHD milk is plain nasty tasting. Listening to the consumer? Obvious to surmise that they are losing money and sales are down, hence they are going back to the real milk.

    Maybe they can sell the ‘new’ gunk as cats milk instead?

    Trinidad should have let it in no problem. Would not have lasted a week there…or rather…would have stayed on the shelf for the next two years…