24 June, 2013

Had Milk... Lately?

A few days ago, I was in the kitchen fixing a bowl of cereal. I reached for the Lala milk carton in the fridge and began twisting off the cap, something I've done probably a thousand times before. Something that you usually give very little conscious thought to most of the time.
The New Lala Cap
This time was different. The cap felt, I don't know, bigger or taller or something. Whatever it was, it drew my attention to it. Hmmm, it is different. Then I began to look at it closely. Wait a minute... What are these teeth on the underside of the cap? Do they break the seal?
Showing the Cap Underside
Hmmm, once again. How is that better than the old ring attached to the foil that you had to manually remove? Let's see did I miss something? It reall does look like you don't have the opportunity to inspect the carton before opening it to determine product integrity.
Looks Quite Ominous
I re-sealed and opened the carton three or four times. Then went ahead and poured milk over my cereal and didn't think about it again for a while.

That is, until I went to New World Market a few days later, and happened to need to buy some more milk. As I handed John, the  proprietor, the milk cartons, I said that I didn't think very much of the new style cap on the milk. He agreed and seemed quite upset over the fact that he no longer could inspect and determine the integrity of the milk in the carton for himself and his family.
The Old-Style Pull Ring Under the Cap
After getting back home with my grocery purchases, I began to toy with the idea of making a blog posting out of this. Hmmm, might be kind of fun.

Before I did that though, this morning, I actually looked up Lala on the Intertubes. Of course, it's a little hard to tell which website you should be looking at, so I picked one near the top of the Google list and found a little 'Contact Us' button.

I sent an email to Lala which essentially said (I don't have a copy of the original email. Their Website didn't give me the option to save a copy for myself.) that I was using a product of theirs (Lala Light) and noticed they had changed the cap style on it. I also said something to the effect that I didn't like it much as it didn't give the consumer the ability to inspect the carton before opening it, like you could do with the old style ring top cap. I clicked the box on their form where it said to click it if you wanted a response.

Less than an hour later, I got the following response from Lala:
On 6/24/2013 10:17, Care, Consumer {BORDEN} wrote:
Dear David,
Thank you for contacting us regarding our Lala products. We produce Lala milk at several different plants that may use different caps based on available machinery. If you can provide us with the Sell By date information and all the numbers/letters printed with the date I would be happy to pass the information along the plant that manufactured the product.
Thank you,
Consumer Care

Tips to Keep Milk Fresh

Once the product is open, consume within 7 days!
Store at 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit!
Avoid heat shock! Keep the time milk is unrefrigerated to a minimum!

EMAIL NOTICE: This email message, including any attachments, is intended only for the confidential use of the recipient(s) named above, and, if intended as an attorney-client communication and/or work product should be considered privileged and confidential. Any review, use, disclosure or distribution by persons or entities other than the intended recipient(s) is prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please notify us by reply email and then delete the original message and any copies. Thank you.
This last bit is meaningless legal mumbo-jumbo. In light of the current NSA thing, anyone who thinks their email is private is dreaming, so I chose to ignore that bit of their message.

I next grabbed the currently opened carton of milk out of the fridge, and copied the requested information and sent that back to Lala (Borden).
Hi Consumer Care Folks,
Thanks for the quick response. I appreciate it.
Here's the information you requested.

    22 OCT 13 UC 5
    16: 32004 S2LHMFLN

The milk product is LALA Light, 1 liter container.

Thank you for your interest.
Dave Rider
I haven't heard back from Lala or Borden yet. I hope to, if their initial email back to me was any indication. I'm hoping it has some good info in it to make us feel more protected than John or I do at present. You should be concerned as well. I'll let you know what I find out.

Wow! This is almost like investigative journalism. It's exciting.


Anonymous said...

There was a story on 7 news about this the other day

Dave Rider said...

Thanks Anymouse. I had forgotten about that story. You can find it at (
I will take strong issue with their story however. The last two paragraphs of their story:
"So while you may be used to the solid old seal which you puncture yourself. We contacted the bureau of standards which in turn contacted the wholesaler who explained that in fact the new tetra packs have a serrated cover which cuts through the plastic seal when it is turned to open – so in fact, it does come sealed.

La La milk has changed the seal on all its products – so don’t be alarmed."

Don't be alarmed? What kind of public service journalism it that? Where is the protection for the public with a seal that the consumer can't tell if it's broken or not before they open the carton?
I don't doubt the seal that is there helps ensure the contents stay fresh, but... and it's a big but - With no way to determine if the seal was broken before you purchased it, I say, from a consumer point of view, it's worthless and may as well not have any seal at all. Lala or Borden, either one or both, you owe it to the people purchasing your products to ensure their peace of mind, bring back the seal that the consumer removes. Anything less is crap, pure and simple!
Enjoy your milk,