“Beverages with soy extracts not milk,” says Parag Milk Foods to FSSAI

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Parag Milk Foods Ltd, one of India’s leading manufacturers of milk and milk products and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products, recently sent the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) a proposal to review the contents of extracts of plants like soy, almond, etc., and recommended that they be categorised as beverages and not as milk. Devendra Shah, the company’s chairman, said, “Milk is an important component in the Indian diet.

Experts believe that after mother’s milk, the best milk for people, irrespective of whether they are infants or adults, is cow’s milk.” “In recent years, we have seen extracts of plants like soya, almond, rice and coconut being termed as milk. This is not only misleading, but is also in contravention to the definition of milk as defined under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011,” he added. “These plant-based milk extracts are the least nutritious, as they have very low contents of protein, calcium and other nutrients in comparison to cow’s milk,” Shah said. He added, “We have sent a proposal to FSSAI to review the contents of these plant extracts and recommended that they be categorised as beverages and not as milk.”  Except for soy milk (to some extent), none of the milk containing plant extracts contains more than a gram of protein, unless they’re fortified.

To boost the nutrient profiles of these beverages, some manufacturers fortify them, adding pea or rice protein to raise the protein count, calcium phosphate or calcium carbonate to increase the calcium and vitamins. However, cow milk is a complete food even without the addition of any nutrient or additive. India is the largest producer and consumer of milk. It is considered as the nature’s most unique food. The major and minor constituents (or nutrients) of milk include milk fat, proteins (like casein and whey proteins), carbohydrates (like lactose, which is also known as milk sugar), minerals (like calcium and phosphorous), vitamins (A, B and D), enzymes, etc.

The benefits of cow milk are known to the world. An eight-ounce glass of cow’s milk naturally contains about 8g of protein and almost a third of the recommended percentage daily value of calcium. Cow’s milk, which also naturally contains nutrients like potassium and Vitamin B12, is usually fortified with Vitamins A and D. These things are essential for good health. As per the Food Safety Standards (Food Products and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, milk is the normal mammary secretion derived from the complete milking of healthy milch animals without either addition thereto or extraction therefrom, unless otherwise provided in these regulations. The total urea content in the milk shall not be more than 700 parts per million (ppm).

Source: F n B news

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