(Last updated May 2012)
The composition of milk is regulated by the Food Standards Code (Standard 2.5.1).
The standard for packaged cows’ milk for retail sale requires that it contain at least 3.2% fat and 3.0% protein. Skim milk must contain a maximum of 0.15% of fat and a minimum of 3.0% protein.
The Code allows milk processors to adjust the components of milk, such as lactose, protein, fat or vitamins and minerals by adding or removing those components to produce a standardised product.
This allows for normal variations that occur in the levels of fat and protein in milk because of differences between breeds of cows and regional and seasonal factors.
Just as ‘skimming’ may be used to adjust the level of fat to meet the standards for cream, milk and skim milk, other components can be adjusted using the process of fine filtration. This process produces mineral rich permeate and protein rich retentate that can be used to standardise milk composition.
The whey protein to casein ratio cannot be changed during adjustment.