Conventional milk supply in Australia deliberately tainted with unlabeled waste product known as 'permeate'

Saturday, April 21, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Australia, milk, permeate

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(NaturalNews) Australians who purchase conventional milk products from their local grocery store or supermarket may be drinking a processed food product composed of more than 16 percent industrial waste every time they gulp down a glass. The Age reports that "permeate," a waste byproduct of processed milk and cheese production, is being quietly added into many conventional milk brands in order to cut costs, and the public is largely unaware of this due to lax rules that do not require proper labeling.

When whole milk is passed through a special processing sieve that separates proteins from fat in order to produce other dairy-based products, it creates permeate, also known as modified whey, which is composed of lactose and other minerals. Permeate is also the byproduct of cheese production, as well as production of whey protein concentrates and isolates. And when it is labeled as an ingredient, permeate often goes by the name "dairy product solids" (

Though promoters of permeate say it is high in vitamins and nutrients, the watery, greenish substance is not technically milk. Dairy producers actually view permeate as a "problematic waste stream" that is difficult to dispose of, to quote a report issued by dairy giant Dairymark, which is now trying to revamp the reputation of permeate from an undesirable sludge into "a rich source of dairy carbohydrate."

And yet permeate is being secretly added to conventional milk supplies in Australia because it is cheaper than real milk, and can thus effectively water it down without raising too many red flags in the consumer noticeability department. This adulteration, of course, helps increase the financial bottom line for dairy producers as they can reduce the cost of producing "milk," and also dispose of an inconvenient waste product in the process.

But an even bigger problem with permeate is that Australian law does not even require it to be labeled, which leaves consumers in the dark about which milk brands contain it, and which do not. So while milk producers are increasing their margins, Australian consumers are being deceived much in the same way that American consumers are with unlabeled milk that contains genetically-modified (GM) recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH).

According to The Age, National Foods, Australia's largest milk supplier, now adds up to 16.43 percent permeate in its milk brands. These brands include Pura, Big M, Dairy Farmers, Woolworths, and Coles. Meanwhile, an investigation conducted by Australia's A Current Affair found that Parmalat Pure Organic, Pura Gold, Country Valley, Norco, and A2 are all brands that do not contain permeate (

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