What is permeate free milk?
It seems we have another issue to consider when doing the weekly shop:
- Does our milk contain permeate?
- By the way what is permeate?
Permeate is a by-product of an ultra-filtration process which occurs in cheese making. Permeate consists mainly of lactose (milk sugar) and is naturally part of whole milk.
Traditionally permeate has been perceived as a ‘waste product’ of cheese production however more recently it is being added back into milk in order to sustain the cheap milk prices in the 2 major supermarkets.
By law permeate is allowed to be added to milk and historically has been added to ensure a consistency in taste. Milk flavour and
composition does alter throughout the seasons as the pastures the cows feed on become more lush or conversely dryer – this has an impact on taste and milk consistency. Reading Nutritionist Catherine Saxelby’s blog food watch the spring milk fresh from the cow is creamier than at other times of the year.
So really whether permeate is added into the milk or not is really a moot point. The reason it is being added in is to help consumers get the low prices they want and to ensure that farmers can also make a living. It is perfectly legal long as the milk’s composition stays within the limits of the food code’s standard.
The conclusion’s made by Catherine Saxelby, I think, summarise the issue well:
Saxelby says, “We have a right to know what’s in our food so that we can make informed decisions. If we’re prepared to pay more for whole milk that really is whole milk that should be our choice and if we want to buy the cheaper alternatives we have a right know how much is milk and how much is permeate.” Thanks Catherine!
Milk is an important contributor to our daily calcium needs, it can be low fat and is low Glycaemic Index (GI) so it forms an important part of our diet everyday. Milk makes an excellent snack and contributes to a healthy breakfast. So whether you choose to drink permeate free milk or stick with your usual brand- rest assured you are making a great food choice.
Lisa Renn (APD)
Lisa Renn is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and owner/director of Body Warfare Nutrition in Ringwood, Melbourne. Lisa is an author, speaker and media liaison- her speciality area is creating change in people’s lives by helping them understand their unhelpful thoughts and habits. Connect with Lisa on Google +