ICB: Are the permeate-free claims just out to milk you?
Welcome to another instalment of I Call Bullshit, a column that looks at artful artifice, spin and skulduggery. This week we’re looking at those loud and proud new milk cartons that trumpet their ‘permeate free’ status.
It’s hard to keep up with health claims on food. Low in fat often means high in sugar. High in energy also often means high in sugar. Pictures of fruit may not necessarily indicate the presence of actual fruit.
There are swags of regulations – and state governments are looking at a national approach to tighten them further - but the food producers will seek out every inch of wriggle room they can find to convince you that their product is healthier than it actually is.
It works. People think Nutella is a health food. Some misguided Loops may even think they’re getting their daily intake of Froot through oversugared breakfast cereals.
Many people don’t know how to read a label, or they are so seduced by the big words on the front they neglect to read the little ones on the back.
So putting ‘permeate free’ on milk works because it sends the message that this is a good thing, that therefore having permeate is a bad thing. Impure. ‘Pure’ is up there with ‘natural’ when it comes to marketing spin.
Introducing their permeate-free range of milks, Pura say “Here at PURA, we believe in pure milk with pure taste”. ‘Course you do. Who’d want impurity? Impure bad. Pure good.
The word ‘pure’ is total spin, and I Call Bullshit on permeate being the impure villain in the piece.
Permeate comes from the milk. It goes back into it. Your milk may taste crappier if they tip the balance too far, it may not froth as well, but hey, that’s true for many of the low-fat milks anyway.
And it’s not as though our milk comes straight from the udder anyway; it’s homogenised and pasteurised. It’s processed, mostly for our own good.
Even Pura have to admit that permeate is not some evil secretion, and that it’s pretty much just a marketing gimmick:
Is permeate bad? No – permeate is the watery by-product of milk processing. We are simply aiming to provide milk that is in line with consumer demand.
Milk straight from the cow is a beautiful thing if you’ve got one in the backyard. But it goes off pretty quickly and some of us have to worry about our waistlines and cholesterol levels. And you might get a bonus dose of bacteria with it. And you wouldn’t want to drink from an infected teat.
So most of our milk is not ‘pure’, it’s processed. All this fearmongering over permeate is bullshit.
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