Arla Foods Ingredients welcomes Codex Alimentarius approval

24 Jul 2017

The final approval of a Codex Alimentarius international standard for dairy permeate powder has been given a warm welcome by Arla Foods Ingredients, which it believes will accelerate demand for permeate.

Arla Foods Ingredients welcomes Codex Alimentarius approval

The final approval of a Codex Alimentarius international standard for dairy permeate powder has been given a warm welcome by Arla Foods Ingredients.

The new science-based standard establishes global criteria for the identity, composition, safety and quality of powdered milk and whey permeates for the first time. According to Arla, it is expected to accelerate demand for permeate and open up new sales channels, particularly in Asia.

“This new Codex standard for dairy permeate is very good news,” said Charlotte Sørensen, Senior Project Manager at Arla Foods Ingredients. “We believe it will spark the permeate market into life, generating new sales opportunities for a valuable and affordable ingredient that has often been overlooked. Permeate is still a relatively new product in the food industry and the Codex standard will help to raise its profile and build trust in this natural, safe and highly functional ingredient.”

Permeate is a by-product of whey manufacturing. It is a low-cost, carbohydrate ingredient often used as a bulk sweetener in snacks, chocolate, confectionery, ice cream, desserts, beverages and bakery products. Permeate is highly valued for its ability to replace other, more expensive milk solids in food products without altering the taste or texture, or requiring any changes to processing parameters. Used as an alternative to whey powder, demineralised whey powder and lactose, whey permeate can optimise product quality in a range of applications.

However, until now, there was no Codex agreement for dairy permeate, a factor that deterred many countries from allowing it in food and beverage products. Arla notes that China, for example, offers huge potential for the ingredient, but the lack of a standard means the authorities have not permitted its use. In other parts of the world, permeate is already approved – but many companies have been reluctant to use it due to a lack of a global consensus on how it should be labelled.

At the Codex annual meeting in summer 2015, dairy companies agreed to develop a new standard for permeate within two years in order to address this and other technical issues, such as harmonisation of product quality and consistency. The standard was finalised and approved this month (July 2017) and comes into effect immediately.

“This development will be welcomed by the whey industry as a whole because it will add more value to what is a major by-product of the whey protein manufacturing process,” said Sørensen. “Creating and approving the standard was a joint effort by the dairy industry over the past two years, and we look forward to watching the market grow in the future.”

In recent years Arla Foods Ingredients says it has invested significantly in the manufacturing of high quality food-grade permeate as a free-flowing powder with a pleasant and stable taste profile. The company has a permeate production facility in Denmark, which manufactures Kosher and Halal certified whey permeate – demand for which is expected to increase in 2017 and beyond. It also has joint venture facilities in Argentina (with Sancor) and in Norway (with Tine).