Posted by: Editor | March 19, 2011

White Lies; Milk & Creamer Deception to Consumers

Public Awareness Message from HazaraNewsPK

By Our Contributor

White lies are minor lies which could be considered to be harmless, or even beneficial, in the long term. They also considered to be used for greater good. However there is one such ‘white lie’ which is definitely not beneficial in the longer term.

As the population of the world has exploded to six billion plus souls; its resources remain constant and are being depleted at a faster rate than ever before in history. The widening rich and poor gap and the failure of governments to provide basic facilities to its citizens are exacerbating the problem of affordable living standards. The very basics of life which include food, drinking water, health care, education and security have become a luxury.

This milieu is further complicated with the dominance of the capitalist system on the economics of this planet. The capitalist system is basically driven by profits – infinite profits. The race to increase that bottom line forces corporations and companies sometimes to undertake activities which are treading on the line that separates the ethical from the unethical

In pursuit of this ‘profit-obsession’ dream; dairy companies in Pakistan are making and marketing products in Pakistan and exporting to Afghanistan, which come under the garb of blatant consumer deception.

Packaged Milk as per the food laws of Pakistan (and some what similar to international food laws – which are dictated by global food standard’s guideline called Codex Alimentarius) should consist of 87% water and 13% Milk Solids. The milk solids are further divided into Dairy Fat 3.5% and Dairy Solid Non-Fats (DSNF) 9% (DSNF = Proteins, Calcium and other milk nutrients).

Regardless to say both Dairy Fats and DSNF’s play a vital role in providing the nutritional requirements to the body. Dairy Fat especially is required more for children as it helps in physical development of their bodies – adults on the other hand can do without the additional fat and use skimmed milk. Skimmed milk has reduced fat but is high in DSNF.

Milk is mainly used for three main purposes; Drinking (Adult & Children), Tea Making and Cooking. The tea consumed in Pakistan has milk in it (where as in Afghanistan black tea is consumed). Keeping the tea market in mind another specialized category has been developed called ‘Packaged Tea Creamers’. Since Tea is a product which is used as a relaxing beverage and not as a nutritional one therefore the laws determining it is different from that of Packaged Milk. As per food laws of Pakistan and Codex Alimentarius; a Tea Creamer can consist of a higher percentage of Fat (7%) and lower Solid Non-Fat (3%).

Double Trouble:

The ethical twist comes when it is allowed by law that the Dairy Fat in the Tea Creamers can be replaced with Vegetable Fat and the Solid Non-Fat levels are also lowered.

Most dairy companies replace the Dairy Fat with Hydrogenated Palmoline Oil (HPO) which is a Vegetable Fat. The sole reason behind this is higher profit margins. Vegetable Fat is cheaper as compared to Dairy Fat and it does not alter the ‘sensory’ qualities (taste, smell, mouth feel, viscosity etc.) of the product. However the nutritional value is no where near the Dairy Fat. Not only is the fat content vegetable based the Solid Non-Fat level is also lower in Tea Creamers significantly reducing the nutritional value of the product.

The Packaged Tea Creamers are deceivingly strikingly similar to Packaged Milk – in fact better tasting as they are high in Fat content thus giving the consumer a false impression that since it’s a high fat product hence it has more nutritional value. The deception comes in because the Tea Creamers look like, taste like, smell like and perform all sensory functions like milk where as it is NOT MILK.

The labeling laws are also favorable to the ‘Big Business’ and allows companies to not explicitly print on its packaging that this product is ‘NOT MILK and SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER IN NUTRITIONAL VALUES’.

Also since the cost of production of this product is lower hence its selling price for the consumer is also lower. Hence the masses that try and manage the household budgets in these inflationary times are misled into thinking that they are buying Milk and give this to their children for drinking oblivious to the dire consequences.

The above information is being shared so that this can be told to as many Qawma as possible to ensure that our young generation to not grow up on this White Lie i.e. Artificial Milk – because a healthy body is a healthy mind and we want our future generation to be healthy in every aspect of life.

 

Tea Creamer brands in the market:

Everyday by Nestle

Tarang by Engro Foods

Tea Max by Haleeb Foods

 


Responses

  1. Excellent piece of information.
    We need to have the Labelling Law changed to ensure that critical & differentiating information is clearly mentioned on packet & people should know what they are paying for.
    Unfortunately, milk producers of Pakistan have indulged in making money by way of confusing the consumer, they have capitalized on the opportunity of ever increasing inflation & offering cheap alternatives. They are actually not helping the consumers but cheating without doubt. As ethical marketeers, they shall clarify each product contents vis-a-vis Milk, Tea Whitener & Others (Dairy Omang the latest entry).


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