Just this morning with my weekly milk delivery I found a little brochure proclaiming that the milk I was holding had NO PERMEATE ADDED. I have to confess my ignorance as all that flew into my mind was a visual of sitting at the hairdressers in the 80’s with a big contraption over my head and chemicals causing tears to flow. Given that I have had one and only one ‘perm’ in my life, with the end result being me resembling a show poodle, even my knowledge of this is shaky. Surely my milk has not become involved in this too? Significant research later reveals that ‘permeate’ is the term used to describe the milk-sugar (lactose) and minerals part of whole or full-cream milk. As you would expect, cows milk has regional and seasonal differences resulting in varying levels of fat and protein in the milk collected from farms. The composition of our milk is governed by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Standards Code which is considered to be one of the best in the world. Basically permeate is produced when milk is passed through a fine sieve (ultrafiltration) to separate the lactose, vitamin and mineral components from milk protein. From here, dairy manufacturers may adjust these components to make various milks such as low fat, high calcium and no fat to meet consumer demands. Under the same Food Standards Code, these components can be added to or withdrawn from milk to standardise the normal variations in fat and protein. A similar situation occurs with 100% fruit juice as the sweetness of fruit also varies according to the season and the Code allows the addition of a certain amount of sugar to these products. So, no chemicals, heads in buckets or tears in the eye. Of course, at the moment there are tears in the eyes of many a dairy farmer for a completely different reason. The ongoing battle of price. Any thoughts?