Friday, December 6, 2013

Flint Artifacts: McDonald Dairy Milk Bottle


  1. Does McDonald Dairy still exist?

    I was curious what 'soft curd' milk was so I googled it. Fooduniversity says:

    "Soft curd milk may be produced by homogenization, by enzymatic treatment, by sonic vibration, by ion-exchange, and by addition of various salts. Now that almost all fresh fluid milk sold is homogenized, and thus has a soft curd, the product labeled "soft curd milk," prepared by the other processes, is seldom seen."

    1. McDonald Dairy is out of business. Its customer base was sold to Dean Foods, a Midwest dairy conglomerate that drove out many local dairies by dramatically undercutting prices in that locale until they'd sell out.

      Dean utilizes much larger production facilities, so gains some economies of scale. The Dean business model was made possible by increasing efficiencies of long distance refrigerated truck transport, combined with having the right political relationships so as to avoid adverse regulatory attention to their monopolistic takeover of a whole regional industry.

      The McDonald milk processing building still stands empty at the corner of Chavez Drive and Longway Boulevard, waiting forlornly for some other business that needs a central city location, lots of plumbing and lots of refrigeration.

      A very close friend of my parents was the last independent general manager of McDonald, before the Board of Directors decided to sell out.

  2. As far as my childhood is concerned, this is the REAL McDonald's consumer product. We had milk delivery to our home, with a real milkman in a milkman truck. He wore very clean starched bib overalls, a fresh set every day. On hot days, we kids would approach him for ice chips and he never disappointed us. Thinking about it now, the ice was probably very unsanitary, but kids were much tougher back then. We also consumed vast quantities of refined sugar and quenched our thirst from garden hoses while playing.

    In winter months, the bottled milk placed on our porch would often freeze before being retrieved and brought inside. When frozen, the milk expanded, popping up the cardboard cover cap. It made the bottle of frozen milk look like it was wearing a hat of some sort.

    Back then, the milk was not homogenized, with the cream portion being contained in the top 2" inches of the bottle. Naturally, we kids would drink the cream upon arrival and the rest of the family had skim milk for their portion.

  3. Ah, yes, but sometimes our old hound dog got the popped up cream first and my mom would go ballistic!

  4. for sharing the story of Dorothy. It was our family's honour to be witness to what was one of the most important creative works that we've seen in a long time. mcdonalds survey

  5. I played baseball in Flint, Michigan for McDonald’s ice cream in 1962.
    Only luck & a Great Grandmother took me there from Columbus, Georgia.
    BEST summer of my life. I still cherish the signed baseball from my NEW teammates.

  6. I worked in McDonald's quality control lab when I was in high school in 1970. We tested all of the dairy products for purity. My favorite job was ice cream testing (for both McDonald's Dairy and Freeman's Ice Cream). After the requisite small sample was taken, the rest was either disposed of (ugh), or I got to take A LOT of it home (happy days!).

  7. My dad delivered to commercial accounts for the dairy. He met my mother at Whiteys restaurant,, aka dairy bar at the time.. we also had home delivery


Thanks for commenting. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at