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Some common questions about milk and permeate...
- Does permeate affect the nutritional quality of my milk?
There is nothing in fresh milk that is not milk. No matter what product you choose, you can be assured it is a high quality and nutritious product containing all the 10 essential nutrients that milk naturally provides.
- Why isn’t it labelled?
Permeate is simply a collective/technical term for the lactose, vitamin and mineral components that are a natural part of milk, extracted using ultra-filtration. This is why it is not labelled
- Does permeate increase the lactose content of milk?
The lactose level does not change from the stated value on the label. The whole point of standardisation is to keep nutrients in milk at a consistent level.
- Is it a by-product of cheese?
Milk permeate is NOT a by-product of cheese.
Consistent composition levels in milk are required to make the wide range of healthy and nutritious types of milk for consumers. Variation in the composition of the milk can change the taste and functional properties of the final product and can lead to difficulties during processing.
In cheese-making, the milk standardisation process happens before the cheese is made. Cheese production requires a consistent composition of milk with regards to its ratio of fat to protein that will ensure the taste and functional properties of each type of cheese are the same, no matter what time of the year it is made. This is when various technologies, like ultra-filtration, are used to standardise the milk components.
The use of such technologies also ensures every component in milk is used efficiently to maximise the yield of milk with no waste.
- Is permeate a waste product?
Certainly not – Permeate is a term that refers to a collection of valuable milk components containing lactose, vitamins and minerals. Through innovation, the dairy industry has been able to develop processes that allow standardisation of milk composition and create a range of innovative dairy products and use every part of this nutritious product.
- Does all milk contain permeate?
As permeate is simply a collection of milk components (lactose, vitamins, minerals and water), naturally these will be found in milk according to the variety. We encourage consumers to contact the manufacturer of their favourite brand for further product information.
- If some manufacturers claim they do not use permeate, how are they able to meet guidelines for standardisation without it?
- Under the Food Code governed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the standard for packaged whole milk requires that it contain at least 32 g/kg (3.2%) of fat and 30 g/kg (3.0%) of protein. The Code allows manufacturers to add or withdraw milk components to standardise the composition of milk sourced from dairy farms, as required, to produce nutritionally consistent and safe products.
Natural protein levels in cow’s milk do not dip below 3 per cent because of the feed systems Australian farmers have in place and the types of grain concentrates fed to the cows. All companies will always meet the standard minimum protein levels. The companies who decide not to standardise protein will have milk that fluctuates slightly in composition according to the phase of the lactation cycle, what farm it is from and by the breed of cow.