Permeate what’s all the fuss?

I wasn’t going to write a post about this topic but people I respect are now  concerned about the addition of permeate to milk and one of Art4agriculture’s Young Farming Champions wasquizzed about it and wasn’t confident answering the question when she gave a recent presentation. So I decided it was time to debunk the misconceptions and get it out in the open

Permeate so why all the fuss?

As always controversy sells newspapers and attracts viewers in droves for TV shows and apparently food controversy does this better than any other topic.

In fact it’s become so popular that we could have controversy food isles and controversy free food isles in supermarkets and food products and brands would be moving backwards and forwards like yo yos as long as the issue continued to improve ratings .

This week its milk and how it is standardised. Below is a nice simple diagram of how milk is standardised. Standardisation means you can put accurate fat and protein percentages on milk product labels.


Fairly straight forward stuff wouldn’t you say? What the labels don’t say is how the milk was standardised and this is causing controversy because the word permeate now emits “controversy”

So how did permeate fall into the controversy isle of the fridge. My opinion is lack of transparency. Transparency within food systems refers to full disclosure of information about rules, procedures and practices at all levels within a food production and supply chain. Transparency ensures that consumers have detailed information about production of a given food item.

When permeate first appeared in the media the reaction from the big milk companies and industry bodies was “no comment”.  Not the wisest decision they ever made.

Milk companies it’s time to fix this mess. If the milk is standardised with permeate put it on the label. Australian shoppers are not known as most discerning in the world, the statistics say we buy on cost and convenience and take 1.7 seconds to make a food item purchase decision in the supermarket. It’s a pretty fair bet that the word permeate on the label won’t even make a dent in sales but the consumer has a right to know and it’s time to show them that respect

Let’s hope this is a lesson learned “truth in labelling” should be nothing to fear. After all if you are not proud of what goes in your product and you can’t talk about it don’t add it.

Back to permeate – Let’s get fair dinkum I can confirm for milk consumers permeate is nothing to fear. It’s just a milk by product just like cream is but I won’t be whipping to put on my dessert any time soon

Food Myths Everywhere