FAQs

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Check out our handy FAQs to see responses to commonly asked questions.

What is permeate?

Permeate is a technical term for something that is actually very easy to describe – it’s the parts of milk that are left after the fat and protein have been separated. This includes the lactose (natural milk sugar), vitamins and minerals in milk.

Separating milk and using permeate like this is one way dairy manufacturers can standardise the fat and protein levels in milk and provide a consistent product all year round. There is nothing in fresh milk that is not milk, because permeate comes from milk! Whether your milk contains permeate or is permeate-free, it’s a nutritious product that gives you the ten essential nutrients milk naturally provides.

What is in milk?

Grab the bottle or carton of milk from your fridge and check out the ingredients list on the label - chances are it has just one ingredient: milk!

Fresh milk from the cow is refrigerated and taken to the milk factory where it’s pasteurised (to kill potentially harmful bacteria and extend the milk’s shelf life) and homogenised (to give a smooth and creamy texture). The cream can also be separated at the factory to make reduced-fat or skim milk.

Unless the milk is fortified with extra nutrients for special health purposes, nothing is added – there’s nothing in milk that’s not milk!

What is in cheese?

Natural cheese is made from four basic ingredients: milk, salt, starter culture and a source of enzymes called rennet.

The exact composition of cheese varies from one variety to another.

What is in yogurt?

Yogurt is made by adding live bacteria to milk, which feed on the lactose in milk and produce lactic acid which ‘sets’ the yogurt. Unique bacteria known as probiotics may be added for their health benefits. Sometimes fruit or flavourings are added to produce the huge range of yogurt products you find at the supermarket.

What is in butter?

Making butter is a simple process: separate cream from milk and churn the cream until it thickens. That’s it.

In Australia, a small amount of salt is usually added to make salted butter. European-style butters have cultures added, which gives them a nutty, sweet flavour.

What are milk solids?

Milk solids are everything in milk except the water component. They include the fat, protein, whey, lactose, vitamins and minerals. They are a natural component of milk.

Are there the same amounts of nutrients in reduced fat and skim milk as there are in regular fat milk?

Reduced-fat and skim milk are made by simply removing some or all of the fat from fresh milk. Nothing else is removed, and nothing’s added.

As it’s a fat soluble vitamin, reduced fat varieties of milk are naturally lower in Vitamin A – but levels of the other nutrients in milk remain more or less the same. So whether you choose regular fat, low fat or skim milk, you’re drinking a natural source of essential vitamins and minerals.

Does long life milk contain the same nutrients as fresh milk?

When long life milk is heated to a high temperature for a few seconds to extend its shelf life, very small amounts of vitamins like thiamine, B6, B12 and folate are lost. Other nutrients are not affected by the process, so long life milk is still a source of the same ten essential nutrients found in fresh milk – with the added convenience of lasting up to six months unopened on the shelf.

I have lactose intolerance – should I stop drinking milk and eating dairy foods?

There is no need to miss out on the ten essential nutrients found in dairy foods if you’ve been diagnosed with lactose intolerance. Research suggests people with lactose intolerance can tolerate) up to one cup of milk without symptoms, especially if it’s eaten with other food.

Some dairy foods are naturally lower in lactose – for example, most hard cheeses contain little to no lactose. The bacteria in yogurt helps to digest the lactose making it a lower lactose option.

Australian dairy producers also make a range of lactose-free milks and yogurts you can find in the supermarket.

What are the health benefits of dairy foods?

Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt offer much more than a good source of calcium for strong, healthy bones. They are a natural source of ten essential nutrients – including some that Australians don’t get enough of from their diets.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recognise milk, cheese and yogurt as foods that are associated with a reduced risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Can you take a calcium supplement instead of drinking milk?

As well as a good source of calcium that is easy for your body to absorb, dairy foods provide other essential nutrients that are needed not only for strong bones but to give you energy, help you grow and repair tissue and keep your immune system healthy.

Supplements might be important for people who have trouble getting the nutrients they need from food, or who have increased requirements. Calcium supplements only contain a single nutrient and using them to replace milk, cheese and yogurt means you don’t get the extra health benefits of eating whole foods.

Can you get the calcium your body needs from nuts and vegetables instead of milk?

While nuts and vegetables are packed with other important nutrients, it’s difficult to rely on them to meet your calcium needs. Most plant foods don’t contain much calcium, and those that do often contain other substances that can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb it efficiently.

Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt contain a lot of calcium per serve and this calcium is well absorbed by the body.

To get the same amount of calcium as one serve of dairy, you would need to eat 32 Brussels sprouts, 21 cups of raw chopped spinach, 5 cups of cooked broccoli or one cup of dry roasted almonds!

Should I give my toddler reduced fat or full fat milk?

It’s recommended you choose full-fat varieties of dairy foods for kids under two years old, because they provide extra energy they’ll need for growth.

Once they turn two, they can enjoy the same varieties of milk, cheese and yogurt that you and your family prefer.

Which dairy products are gluten free?

Fresh milk is naturally gluten free. There are gluten free cheeses, yogurts and other dairy products, but if you need to avoid gluten for medical reasons it’s best to always check the label of dairy products.

Is milk high in fat?

Research shows many people wrongly believe full cream milk contains up to 22% fat!

Milk is not a high fat product – in fact even full cream milk is under 4% fat. Put another way, it’s 96% fat free! Reduced fat milk is usually 1-2% fat and skim milk is even lower with almost zero fat.

Do dairy foods cause acne?

Acne is not linked to diet, including dairy foods. It’s more likely that other factors like your genes, skin type, hormones and environmental pollutants are involved.

Eating a balanced diet that includes foods from the five food groups will help your skin get all the nutrients it need.

Does milk cause mucus?

There is no scientific evidence of a link between milk and mucus.

You may experience a thin, temporary coating over their mouth and throat after drinking milk. This is often mistaken for mucus but it’s actually milk’s natural, creamy texture – and research has shown other liquids of a similar thickness to milk also result in this sensation. It’s not harmful and lasts for only a short period.

Do dairy foods trigger asthma?

It is a common myth that dairy foods are a trigger for asthma, but this is not the case. In fact, research suggests that enjoying dairy foods as part of a balanced diet might actually protect children against asthma.

Does cheese increase your cholesterol?

Cheese can be enjoyed in a well-balanced diet without concern for your cholesterol levels. A number of studies have found that eating cheese does not raise levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, and the Australian Dietary Guidelines recognise getting enough milk, yogurt and cheese is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Is flavoured milk high in sugar and therefore not suitable for children?

If your kids like flavoured milk, you can be sure it contains the same ten essential nutrients as plain milk.

Most flavoured milks available in Australia contain no more than 5% added sugar – this means a 250 mL serve contains about two to three teaspoons of added sugar. Most of the total sugar in flavoured milk comes naturally from lactose.

Research shows kids who drink flavoured milk are more likely to meet their nutrient requirements than kids who don’t without affecting their weight.

Are dairy foods fattening?

The latest research continues to show milk, cheese and yogurt are not linked to weight gain or body fat gain.

The best part of this great news is it applies to all varieties of milk, cheese and yogurt including regular fat varieties – so you can include the types of dairy foods you enjoy in your diet every day, without feeling guilty.

Is yogurt high in sugar?

Most of the sugar in yogurt comes from the natural milk sugar lactose. In some products it might also come naturally from added fruit. Different brands of yogurt have different amounts of added sugar, and some may use artificial sweeteners. Natural or plain yogurts are likely to have the least amount of added sugars, or even no added sugar.

All yogurts made with cows’ milk will contain the same nutritious package of vitamins, minerals and protein.

Can butter be part of a healthy diet?

It’s hard to go past butter’s delicious taste, and like all foods, butter can be a part of a healthy balanced diet. One of the key principles of eating well is making sure your diet is balanced with a wide variety of foods. A little butter goes a long way toward enhancing the taste and texture of foods such as wholegrain bread or vegetables which Australians need to eat more of.

How much does the dairy industry contribute to Australia’s economy?

Dairy is Australia’s third largest rural industry and contributes an impressive $13 billion from farm, manufacturing and the export industry.

What is Australian Dairy’s biggest export market?

South East Asia.

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