There has been lots of controversy in Australia recently as the two major supermarkets Woolworths and Coles reduced their supermarket-brand milk to just $1 a litre. This is much cheaper than other brands of milk and the competitors have said that it is almost impossible for them to compete with Coles or Woolworths. There have been insinuations that Coles and Woolworths are diluting their milk or adding something called ‘permeate’, a ‘naturally occurring’ milk by-product from the cheese making industry to pad out the quantity of milk and make it cheaper.
The article goes on to say that even some of the more regular price milk brands are adding some permeate to their milk:
National Foods uses permeates in Pura and Dairy Farmers milk. The company said: ”The core purpose of permeate use within National Foods is protein standardisation of its products. This ensures a consistent product can be produced all year round, despite the significant fluctuations in raw milk received.”
This quote really got to me. I can’t believe that they are adding some obscure by-product to milk just to ensure that the protein is ‘standardised’ year round. Isn’t milk meant to be a natural product? And being so, isn’t its nutritional profile meant to fluctuate during the year as the cows eat a different diet according to the seasons?
I remember watching a documentary about traditional cheese-making in France. It explained that the cows from the mountains made a unique kind of cheese because they ate more green grass and that their milk was different. This really highlights to me how beautiful and natural milk should be. It shouldn’t be standardised to fit some nutritional label. It should be produced in the most natural way possible, treating the cows humanely and hence producing the most nutritious and delicious tasting milk.
I sure hope they don’t add milk by-products to organic un-homogenised milk. I doubt it. And it sure tastes amazing!