What's Inwards Your Milk?

Milk has overstep a wellness in addition to consumer battleground, writes Elizabeth Meryment.

One of the non bad staples of my childhood was the reassuring audio each morning time of the milkman delivering fresh bottles of creamy milk to the door.

I used to similar the blue-topped bottles – homogenised in addition to total cream – spell my sis preferred the gold-topped diversity – unhomogenised, thus she could scoop the cream off the top alongside a teaspoon. It seemed a fairly elementary choice.

These days, aspect on the supermarket shelves – abode delivery of milk having long since gone the way of many luxuries, including milk inwards drinking glass bottles – in addition to the attain on offering is utterly bamboozling. There's skim milk, high-calcium milk, A2 milk, vitamin-enriched milk, soy milk, lactose-free milk, organic milk in addition to much, much more.

At the same time, supermarkets accept radically altered the marketplace past times offering no-brand milk at the astonishing cost of $1 a litre, making it cheaper than bottled water.

But for all this, has the character of our milk improved?

Creating consistency

Ask dairy farmers in addition to milk producers nigh the milk marketplace today in addition to they all concur things accept changed.

But many say the changes accept non resulted inwards a meliorate production for consumers, permit lonely a meliorate bargain for farmers.

"Most milk has been standardised downwards these days, thus the i matter people tin say is that it tastes the same today, tomorrow in addition to side past times side week," says Queensland dairy farmer Richard Schroder, who produces i of the state's final remaining independent milk brands, Cooloola Milk. "It's difficult to honour milk at in i lawsuit that is non adulterated to instruct inwards all gustatory modality the same."

NSW independent farmer John Fairley, who owns Country Valley milk, agrees in addition to says nearly all milk sold today is genuinely a reconstituted product, oftentimes containing other dairy by-products.

Fairley says when large companies make milk, they "pull it apart in addition to pose it dorsum together again".

Helen Dornom, Dairy Australia's sustainability manager, agrees the components of milk are adjusted. She says this is to attain us the levels of protein, fatty in addition to calcium that nosotros expect. "For example, inwards early on bound the natural poly peptide levels inwards the milk guide from cows are low. This agency the fatty in addition to refined saccharify levels volition live higher inwards proportion, thus these components are adjusted accordingly," she says.

Milk standardisation has been occurring since the belatedly 1970s.

What's inwards milk?

"Reconstituted" milk is perfectly legal, but Fairley says most of this standardised milk contains a by-product from the dairy production procedure called permeate, which occurs when the milk proteins in addition to fatty are removed. Permeate has been used inwards Australian milk for nigh 2 decades.

Body+soul nutritionist Lisa Guy says permeate is cheaper than milk to buy, thus combining the 2 makes a cheaper production for milk companies.

"Adding permeate to milk doesn't look to trim back the nutritional value of milk, though. Milks alongside added permeate in addition to pure milks look to accept a rattling similar calcium, poly peptide in addition to fatty content," Guy says.

Fairley says permeate tin taint the gustatory modality of the milk in addition to growth its lactose (milk sugar) quotient. "It's high inwards lactose in addition to if you lot are fifty-fifty mildly lactose intolerant, it mightiness pose you lot over the edge," he says.

Lactose intolerance is caused past times a lack of the enzyme involved inwards the breakdown of lactose inwards the body. Dornom argues at that spot is no link betwixt lactose intolerance in addition to permeate. "Adding permeate to milk volition non growth its lactose degree because the fat, poly peptide in addition to refined saccharify or refined saccharify levels are ever the same to ensure a consistent production throughout the year."

For many who honour dairy difficult to digest, the occupation is non lactose, but casein, i of the master copy proteins inwards milk, explains Peter Nathan, CEO of dairy fellowship A2. "About a quarter of people accept a perceived intolerance to dairy but alone nigh 5 per cent of people are diagnosed every bit lactose intolerant," he says. A2 alone uses milk from breeds of cows that make milk alongside a cast of casein that many people honour to a greater extent than digestion-friendly. "Many people tin potable A2 where they couldn't otherwise potable milk," Nathan says.

Choices, choices

All milks for sale, regardless of how they are processed or whether they accept permeate added, accept to comply alongside the Commonwealth of Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. These standards develop minimum in addition to maximum requirements for fatty in addition to minimum requirements for protein.

Queensland Dairy Organisation president Brian Tessman agrees inexpensive supermarket milk "meets basic standards of milk" but, he says, at that spot is milk in addition to thus at that spot is premium-quality milk.

So what's a confused consumer to do?

Guy recommends the natural approach. "Ideally, pick out milks that are every bit about their natural nation every bit possible."

Tessman encourages consumers to select the branded milk of small-scale or large producers rather than unbranded supermarket milk because the supply to the farmer is greater. He also believes the production is oftentimes superior.

"Each calendar month [since the introduction of inexpensive milk] the average farmer is $700 to $800 out of pocket," he says.

For Fairley, involvement inwards Country Valley milk has surged since the supermarket cost war.

"When the $1 a litre milk came in, our sales the side past times side calendar month went upward 25 per cent," he says. "Some people accept made the determination to purchase our milk to overstep along it local."

Schroder, too, hopes consumers volition opt for the gustatory modality of local milk. "They mightiness live paying a footling chip to a greater extent than for it, but it's non adulterated," he says. "It genuinely tastes similar milk."

Local milk

  • NSW: Country Valley, Norco, Over the Moon, South Coast Dairy, Udder Farm.
  • Victoria: Demeter Biodynamics, Jonesy's Dairy Fresh, La Latteria, Sungold.
  • Queensland: Barambah Organics, Cooloola, Ivyhome, Maleny Dairies, Mungalli Creek Dairy, Misty Mountain Farms.
  • SA: Alexandrina Cheese, BD Farm Paris Creek, Fleurieu Milk & Yoghurt Company, Tweedvale Milk.
  • WA: Bannister Downes, Margaret River Organic Creameries, Ravenhill Dairy.
  • Tasmania: Ashgrove, Elgaar Farm, Pyengana.

What nigh other milks

  • Almond milk: Made from raw almonds in addition to water, almond milk contains no lactose or cholesterol. While this milk is rich inwards vitamin E, selenium in addition to manganese, it does non comprise the same levels of calcium or poly peptide every bit cow's milk. It tin live made at home.
  • Sheep's milk: Most oftentimes institute on shelves inwards yoghurt or cheese such every bit fetta, sheep's milk is slowly to digest in addition to contains to a greater extent than calcium than cow's milk. It has a high mineral content in addition to a mild, faintly salty taste. Sheep's milk contains lactose (as does goat).
  • Rice milk: Rice milk is typically made from unsweetened chocolate-brown rice. It does non comprise high amounts of calcium or poly peptide but is oftentimes fortified to boost calcium levels. It is costless of cholesterol in addition to lactose, making it suitable for those alongside lactose intolerance.
  • Goat's milk: Goat's milk contains unlike proteins in addition to fats to regular cow's milk, thus many people honour it easier to digest. Goat's milk is at in i lawsuit usually institute inwards supermarkets in addition to contains every bit much potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, atomic release 26 in addition to calcium every bit cow's milk.
  • Soy milk: The most mutual choice milk, soy milk is made from soybeans or soy poly peptide isolate. There is a broad attain of soy milks available, many  of them fortified to create a nutritional profile similar to cow's milk. Vanilla in addition to chocolate  milks are also available.


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