Milk that has been sitting under LED lightbulbs does not do the taste buds good, new research finds. Cornell University taste tests revealed that consumers find two week old milk shielded from the light preferable to fresh milk exposed to LED light for as little as four hours. As grocery stores are turning to more efficient lighting, this creates a problem for dairy industries.

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“For some reason we love to look across the store and see this glowing case of milk that’s shining bright,” said Robin Dando, assistant professor at Cornell University’s Department of Food Science and senior author of the study. “It’s attractive to look at, but we might actually be damaging the quality of the product.” Exposure to sunlight and artificial light sources is known to affect the quality and taste of milk. LED’s unique effects could be causing problems as grocers switch to more energy-saving lighting methods.

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LED lighting typically emits in the blue spectrum and influences how the nutrient riboflavin absorbs light. Riboflavin, as well as other photosensitive components, degrades the proteins in milk and oxidizes the fats, leading to a taste some describe as similar to cardboard or plastic. Cornell’s study revealed that customers were turned off by fresh milk exposed to LED light for as little as four hours, as compared to milk up to two weeks old that had been hidden from LED effects. Nicole Martin, lead author of the study and supervisor of the Milk Quality Improvement Program laboratory at Cornell said, “This study shows that light exposure is a much greater factor explaining deteriorating milk quality than even age.”

Via Morning Ag Clips

Images via Flickr (1,2)