Research at the University of Texas at Dallas offers practical recommendations to solve the milk-quality problem.

A poster was created about this topic.

  • Milk is a vital nutritional staple, especially in the developing third world.
  • Economically motivated adulteration of milk is a serious and common problem widely reported in many countries such as Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Sudan, and Thailand.
  • Common adulterants include polluted water, whey, starch, vegetable fat, and urea—all of which are designed to increase the shelf life of milk and improve its taste.
  • These contaminants are damaging a key staple of diets, especially for infants.
  • Demand for milk has led to fraudulent activity of harmful ingredients being inserted into the milk supply chain. In some countries more than three-quarters of all milk products have been found to be adulterated.

UT Dallas researchers are working on a solution:

  • Examining the impact of incentives such as rewarding high-quality farmers, penalizing low-quality farmers, and self-declaration on the overall quality of milk.
  • Providing simple and practical mechanisms to ensure that the benefits of a milk cooperative are retained, while eliminating free-riding among farmers.
Dr. Milind Dawande

A significant fraction of the milk produced in the developing world occurs under a cooperative structure, where the farmers are also the owners of the cooperative. This research could be used to help improve the safety of the milk-supply chain around the world.

For more information on this research, please contact Distinguished Professor in Management Dr. Milind Dawande (

For more information on endeavors in the Office of Research, please contact Ashbel Smith Professor of Criminology and Director of Social Impact Research Dr. Alex Piquero (