All About Milk

Take about a hundred of those two litre bottles of milk, and that is how much milk each Australian drinks annually. Of course, that is an average. Some people really like milk and drink more. Some hate it and would not consider drinking it. The big issue with milk these days is a substance called “permeate”. Many of us remember having just plain old milk growing up. Now we have different percentages of milkfat to choose from and this strange permeate stuff that is not even on labels.


During the process of filtering milk, a liquid that has a slight green hue to it is removed from whole milk. It is not harmful stuff. It is mostly made up of lactose, which is a milk sugar. It also contains some vitamins and minerals. One would suppose that would be good for those who are lactose intolerant, but it is a bit of a problem for children who need a diet of proper amounts of vitamins and minerals.

When milk producers started mixing permeate back into some milk products, the consumers began to get concerned. Some lower cost milks have a larger proportion of permeate due to permeate being added to it. Remember, milk is used to make all dairy products from cheeses to yogurts. A milk producer could strip off components of milk to make other products, then top off some milk with permeate to sell it at a discount.

The Problem With Permeate in Milk

Well, there really is no problem. Consumers have been choosing to drink altered milk products for a long time. Health conscious people buy milk that has a lowered fat content every day. The milk did not come out of the cow like that. It was made that way by the dairy farmers to meet a demand. Milk has separated into various components to make different dairy products all the way back to the first person who figured out how to make cheese and butter. Therefore, it is not a bad thing to mix permeate back in to add volume to a cheaper brand of milk.

As a final note to consider, all milk comes from mammary glands that are closely related to sweat glands. So, for that next glass of milk, think of it as a nice cold glass of cow sweat. That should change one’s feeling about the benign use of permeate.