Permeate free milk
Permeate free milk has recently been made available by some dairy manufacturers in Australia. You see it on the shelves and hear about it on the news. If you type it into Google you will get nearly half a million results. Before it was reported on the news it was almost unheard of. In some respects this has not been a positive for the average person as the heightened awareness has left many people confused about what it is and the idea that it is bad for us.
What is permeate?
To answer this question we must first understand that milk is filtered. This means that milk gets separated (under pressure) into its different components which are then used to make other dairy products like cheese and cream. Put simply, permeate is the milk sugar (lactose), vitamins and minerals that are separated from the fat and protein in fresh milk. Permeate is a natural milk by-product.
Why do they add the permeate back into the milk if they have separated it?
This is done because of a process called standardisation. Basically this means that dairy manufacturers want to keep the fat and protein levels the same the whole year round because its composition can vary. There are two ways to do this: add/remove fat or use permeate.
What’s the best milk to choose then?
If you walk into the supermarket it will be hard to find a milk bottle that doesn’t make some claim about permeate. It basically comes down to personal choice. In keeping with the Australian Dietary Guidelines, reduced fat dairy products are best.
Is someone governing this?
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSNAZ) regulate our foods as stated in the Food Standards Code. Currently the code allows manufacturers to add or withdraw components of the milk as part of the standardisation process.
The bottom line?
Permeate is NOT harmful and milk should not be avoided for fear of permeate. Milk is an excellent source of protein and calcium and if you are worried about permeate then by all means chose a permeate free milk – the supermarket fridges are now full of them!
For further information about permeate free milk and for advice about how you can improve your diet, book an appointment to see our dietitian Rhiannon Welsh at ENT Wellbeing Diet and Nutrition – Phone 1300 123 368 Sydney