Recently, the undergraduate Yale blog entitled “CrossCampus” uncovered a scandal in one of the undergraduate dining halls: the dining hall was serving expired lactaid milk. But what exactly is lactaid milk, how is it made, and is it more prone to spoilage than normal milk?
After drinking milk, most people are able to metabolize the sugar lactose, which is commonly found in milk products. Someone who is lactose-intolerant, however, lacks the digestive enzyme lactase necessary to break down lactose into glucose and galactose. If a person who suffers from the condition consumes a large amount of lactose, he or she may experience nausea, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence.
Is there a way to mitigate these negative effects? Even the lactose-intolerant should have the right to drink milk, and this is where lactaid milk comes in. Lactaid milk, sold by McNeil Nutritionals, the company that also makes Splenda, is commonly used as a milk-replacement. For those of you who lack the ability to produce lactase, lactaid will bring the enzyme to you. A small dose of lactase is added to every serving of lactaid milk, ensuring that you will have the necessary tools to consume milk.
Interestingly, lactaid products typically carry less lactose than normal milk. Lactaid milk is actually less likely to spoil, since milk spoils because lactose digestion results in lactic acid. Furthermore, the lactase addition is perfectly safe for anyone to drink. It is digested as proteins and sugars and eventually passed through the gastrointestinal tract without posing any perils for the drinker—unless, of course, it has already expired.