Pasteurized milk is boxed or bagged (the packages they're sold in) at a factory near Tashkent; this supplier provides most, if not all, of the pasteurized homogenized milk. Milk is also delivered as fresh whole milk in big open bottles by sellers who will come door to door - but that milk needs to be boiled at home (home pasteurization!).
So I have depended on the boxes or bags of milk for the last two years without a second thought - - until almost 3 weeks ago, my local minimarkets didn't have any. Next day, same story. And the next. They didn't know why, couldn't tell me, just that they should be getting more soon.
Nothing in the news...
After a week, it became a topic of conversation in the office: everyone, everywhere, was having trouble finding pasteurized homogenized milk! But no one knew why.
About 9 days into the 'drought' it was circulated privately that there'd been a contamination issue at the plant and this had interrupted production. No milk while they are correcting the problem and making sure the products are safe.
No news. Nothing official. And in fact these are unconfirmed rumors.
I come from a place where this type of interruption is uncommon but it happens, and when it does, people generally acknowledge the inconvenience but are HAPPY that the mechanisms that we all assume are in place to protect us ARE DOING THEIR JOB, and that this is the cost of living in a society that protects its consumers with laws and quality assurance measures. In Chicago, during my 6 years there, at least once every other year I remember a beach getting closed because of some sort of increase above normal concentrations of bacteria - the city took daily samples and, when the water became a bit too highly populated by bacteria, they'd close the beach until the levels came down. People grumbled, but WHO WOULD CHOOSE THE ALTERNATIVE?!?! No one.
So I say, "Hey, GOOD JOB catching the bad milk, thank you for protecting us, don't be ashamed - crow about it! GOOD JOB!"
P.S.: any idea when we can expect milk in the stores again? :-)
Sleepless in Tashkent