Apr 20 2012

Milk’s Hidden Additives

by admin in

Members please read the following report & information. It will help you understand this currently hot topic and if asked by your customers about “permeate” in the milk that you sell, you will be better equipped to explain why it is used.

(Monday 16th April)
Recently Channel 7’s Today Tonight program ran a story on milk and what is added to it. It is the permeate story revisited – promoted as a whistleblower in the industry telling just what is added to milk.

The suggestion that certain milk products/brands are watered down or adulterated has the potential to damage the reputation of the industry as a whole. Most consumers are uncomfortable with the suggestion that water or additives are present in milk and are not familiar with the term ‘permeate’.

Key Messages to understand

* The Australian dairy industry produces a range of consistent, safe and highly nutritious products

* Permeate is produced when milk is passed through a sieve (ultrafiltration) to separate the milk-sugar (lactose), vitamins and minerals components from milk protein.

* Dairy manufacturers may adjust these components to produce a variety of different types of milk (e.g. low fat, high calcium, no fat) to meet customer demands, consistent with the food regulations

* The composition of milk is governed by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Standards Code, which ensures consumers purchase nutritionally consistent, high quality and safe products

* The FSANZ Food Standards Code allows processors to adjust the components of milk delivered from farms, when necessary, to produce a wide variety of nutritionally consistent and safe products.

Milk – a natural product  – from Dairy Australia Website

Milk is a highly nutritious, safe and natural food. Consumers today can choose from a wide array of different products including no fat, low fat or calcium enriched milk. Permeate is the term used to describe the milk-sugar (lactose) and minerals part of whole milk. Permeate is produced by passing milk through a fine sieve to separate milk sugars and minerals from milk protein and fat.

Because milk is a natural food that comes straight from the cow, its composition can vary by farm and by breed. Regional and seasonal factors also contribute to differences in milk composition.  Government regulations ensure that milk and dairy products conform to food standards for quality, consistency and food safety. The composition of milk is governed by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Standards Code (the Code).

The Food Standards Code allows manufacturers to use milk components to standardise the composition of milk sourced from dairy farms, as required, to produce nutritionally consistent and safe products.
To satisfy consumers’ demand for choice of products, manufacturers, in accordance with the Code, may vary the levels of milk-fat, milk sugar (lactose) and protein.

Whole milk is made up of milk-fat, protein, milk-sugar (lactose), water, vitamins and minerals (including calcium).
In simple terms, permeate is milk that has been filtered through a very fine ‘sieve’ to separate the milk-sugar (lactose) and minerals from the milk protein.

Latest processing techniques enable manufacturers to use these various components in different combinations to produce versatile products demanded by consumers.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) regulations

Cows’ milk has regional and seasonal differences resulting in varying levels of fat and protein in the milk collected from farms. Under the Food Standards Code, components of milk can be added to or withdrawn from milk to standardise natural variations in fat and protein and produce a range of consistent and nutritious products. Manufacturers produce a variety of milks to meet consumer demand consistent with the regulations.

The standardisation process may include the use of membrane separation technology, which produces one stream known as milk permeate, a part of normal milk containing lactose, vitamins and minerals, and a second stream that contains the protein and fat.

The World Health Organisation body for food regulation, Codex Alimentarius, defines milk permeate as ‘… the product obtained by removing the milk proteins and fat from milk, partially skimmed milk or skimmed milk by ultra filtration’.
The standardised milk products need to conform with the national food regulations for milk (the Food Standards Code). For example, the standard for whole milk requires that milk be at least 32 grams per kilogram of fat and 30 grams per kilogram of protein; and skim milk be a maximum of 1.5 grams per kilogram of fat and a minimum of 30 grams per kilogram of protein.

Key points

  • Permeate is produced when milk is passed through a sieve (ultrafiltration) to separate the milk-sugar (lactose), vitamins and minerals components from milk protein.
  •  Dairy Manufacturers may adjust these components to produce a variety of different types of milk (e.g. low fat, high calcium, no fat) to meet customer demands, consistent with the food regulations.
  •  The composition of milk is governed by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Standards Code, which ensures consumers purchase nutritionally consistent, high quality and safe products.
    The FSANZ Food Standards Code allows processors to adjust the components of milk delivered from farms, when necessary, to produce a wide variety of nutritionally consistent and safe products.

(Steve Waller)