At its annual meeting in Geneva in July, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) approved new work by the Committee on Milk and Milk Products (CCMMP) on an international standard on the identity, compositional quality and safety of dairy permeate powders.
Permeate, a by-product of whey manufacturing, is an ingredient often used as a bulk sweetener in snacks, chocolate, confectionery, ice cream, desserts, beverages and bakery products.
Due to the lack of a Codex standard, many countries have been deterred from allowing use of the ingredient.
China, for example, offers “huge potential” for dairy permeate, says Arla Foods Ingredients, but authorities in the country are reluctant to permit use without a Codex standard.
Speaking with DairyReporter, Morten Kaas, director general for foods, Arla Foods Ingredients, said adoption of a Codex standard will provide a “gateway” for regulatory approval in many countries outside the European Union (EU).
“When there’s no Codex standard there’s no recognised international standard for the product,” said Kaas.
“It’s a secret ingredient. Codex is the gateway to getting approval in many countries, especially outside the EU.”
“We’ll be able to promote it in a much more proficient way than we have so far,” he said.
Around 733,000 tonnes of permeate powder were produced worldwide in 2014, according to the International Dairy Federation (IDF).
Arla Foods Ingredients currently produces around 50,000 tonnes annually - at a plant in Denmark and through joint ventures in Argentina with Sancor and in Norway with TINE.
Once a Codex standard is adopted, Arla Foods Ingredients has “the possibility to increase production of permeate.”
Such a move would, however, be a “market-driven decision,” said Kaas.
Once sales are “established and stable” Arla Foods Ingredients could also offer permeate powder at the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction, a platform on which it currently sells just lactose.
“It [GDT] would be a long-term opportunity, but I think we need some maturity in the market before we go on a platform like Global Dairy Trade,” he said.
At the Codex meeting in Geneva in July – attended by our sister publication, FoodQualityNews - dairy stakeholders, including Arla Foods Ingredients, agreed to develop the standard within two years.
Arla Foods Ingredients hopes, however, that the process will be “fast-tracked” and completed within 12 months.
“…because we [the dairy sector] are united there is a chance it could be fast-tracked, but it is uncertain,” added Kaas.