Course:FNH200/2011w Team24 MilkAlternatives

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Milk Alternatives

Introduction

As dairy allergies and lactose intolerance grew, so did the proliferation of milk alternative products. Instead of avoiding milk and products that contain milk, those who suffered from this restriction faced many choices of animal and plant-based alternatives. Some of the plant based milk alternatives include rice milk, soy milk, hemp milk, oat milk, almond milk and hazelnut milk. Here we will address the history, production, packaging/storage and the concerns around three of these popular milk alternatives; Hemp milk, soy milk and almond milk.

Why is it called "milk"?

Ever wondered why something that didn't come from a mammal, or animal of any kind is labelled milk? Us too! Some plant-based beverages are called “milk” if the plant-based protein content is less than 3.0g. It is called “drink” if the plant-based protein content is between 1.5-2.9g and it’s called “power” if the protein content is less than 38.0g.[1]

Hemp Milk

Hemp Bliss is a Canadian brand of hemp milk produced in Manitoba

History

Hemp milk is one of the newest trends in alternative milk products. It is made from Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) which is one of the most diversified and oldest cultivated plants in the world. Despite having been previously banned in Canada from the late 1930s until 1998, the commercial production of industrial hemp in now permitted in Canada through licensing and authorization under Health Canada. [2] In addition to being multipurpose in use, hemp is also easily grown in colder climates, making it perfect for Canadian farmers. In fact, in 2010 10 856 hectares of Canadian farm land was used for hemp, largely in the prairies.[2]

Production

hemp seeds

Hemp milk is typically made from hulled sprouted hemp seeds, filtered water, and a sweetener. Hemp seeds are pulverized, then blended with water. The solid residue is strained out using cheese cloth, leaving behind the liquid. This resulting liquid is the hemp milk. [3]

Pulverized hemp seeds and water are strained with a cheese cloth to extract the solids

Packaging and Storage

Once the hull is removed from the seed, it is no longer protected from light and oxygen and may go rancid quickly unless it is vacuum-packed or stored properly. Hemp food products therefore need to be stored in dark packaging and in a cool, dark place. [4] They also need to be kept from oxygen until treated, as oxygen is the major cause of rancidity. It is recommended that fresh and untreated hemp milk (homemade) is consumed with 1-2 days of production. However treated hemp milk, stored in a refrigerator is usually safe for up to ten days. [5]

Psychoactive Chemical

The major concern surrounding hemp milk and the reason hemp was banned as a crop for nearly sixty years, is that it contains some of the chemical THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive chemical found in hemp's cousin plant marijuana. According to Pacific Foods (a large producer of hemp products) the consumption of hemp products is completely safe and legal.[6] Al hemp products must pass strict testing laws to ensure it does not contain any of the psychoactive chemical and it is illegal to advertise hemp products, including hemp milk at psychoactive, under the Canadian Department of Justice. [7]

Additives

A small concern with hemp milk is that it may contain the additive carrageenan. Carrageenan is a thickening agents, which has been shown to cause cancer in rats.[8] However, it is possible to purchase carrageenan-free hemp milk, for those who worry about its effects.

Soy Milk

History

Ancient times to 1900: Soymilk was made and consumed in small soymilk or tofu shops only in China.[9]
1900-1949: People started paying attention to the nutritional value of soymilk.[9] Infants were feed with soymilk.[9] In western countries, people who were lactose-intolerant also began to consume soymilk. [9]Small soy dairies could be seen in both China and Western countries.[9]
1950-1969: Soymilk became very prevalence following the success of the first soymilk soft drink introduced by Hong Kong’s Vitasoy.[9]
1970-1981: New methods were developed in the United States in early 1970s to eliminate the beany flavors. [9] Also, the invention of Tetra Pak and Tetra Brik containers gave colorful packages and extending shelf life to soymilk. [9] These factors made soymilk become even popular and stimulated more companies to enter the soy industry. [9]

Later development: With improvements in soy drink quality and processing technologies, soy beverages have become a good carrier for ingredients such as minerals, vitamins, and omega 3 oils, which can lead to positive health effects on human.[10] High nutritional value and potential health benefits have made soy beverages become a popular choice among North American consumers.[10] Soy milk, rank as the best selling product of all soy foods, is a watery suspension contains ground, soaked beans extract. [11] People from all age groups, even children who are intolerant to dairy products, can consume soymilk. [12]

Silk is a popular brand of soy milk in North America

Brands

Silk, one of the most commonly seen brands in the market, has three broad categories of soymilk: all natural soy, organic soy, and light soy. [13] These products are further processed into different flavors. All natural soy has 5 varieties: Silk Vanilla Soymilk, Silk Chocolate Soymilk, Silk Original Soymilk, Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk, and Silk DHA Omega-3. [14] Organic soy has 3 flavors: Silk Organic Vanilla, Silk Organic Original, and Silk Organic Unsweetened. [15] Light Soy, sweetened with stevia - a natural sweetener which contributes 0 calorie, has 3 varieties: Silk Light Vanilla, Silk Light Chocolate, and Silk Light Original. [16] Earth Balance and Boulder also sell soymilk products. They have organic, non-GMO soymilk with original, vanilla, chocolate, and unsweetened versions. Earth Balance Soymilk is known to be vegan, free of lactose, cholesterol, dairy and gluten, and is a great source of calcium, vitamin D, and ALA omega 3 fatty acids. [17]

Earth Balance is another brand of soy milk available in North America

Ingredients

Here we are looking at 4 different choices of soymilk from the Earth Balance. Other brands may have ingredient lists with slight differences.

Earth Balance Organic Soymilk Ingredients: Organic soymilk (filtered water, organic soybeans), organic dried cane syrup, calcium carbonate, natural flavors, salt, carrageenan, zinc gluconate, vitamin B12, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, Riboflavin (B2), sodium selenate. [18]

Earth Balance Unsweetened Soymilk Ingredients: Organic soymilk (filtered water, organic soybeans), natural flavors, calcium carbonate, carrageenan, salt, zinc gluconate, vitamin B12, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, Riboflavin (B2), sodium selenate. [19]

Earth Balance Vanilla Soymilk Ingredients: Organic soymilk (filtered water, organic soybeans), organic dried cane syrup, natural flavors, calcium carbonate, salt, carrageenan, zinc gluconate, vitamin B12, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, Riboflavin (B2), sodium selenate. [20]

Earth Balance Chocolate Soymilk Ingredients: Organic soymilk (filtered water, organic soybeans), organic dried cane syrup, calcium carbonate, natural flavors, salt, carrageenan, zinc gluconate, vitamin B12, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, Riboflavin (B2), sodium selenate. [21]

Production

Traditional method for producing soymilk
Traditional Method

A traditional method to produce soy milk is to soak soybeans for a minimum of three hours depending on the temperature of the water. [22] The beans are then grinded and mixed with water in a water-to-bean ratio of 10:1.[22] Finally, the slurry is filtered and the resulting aqueous part is heated for 30 minutes to pasteurize and to enhance the flavor and nutritional content.[22] Presently, soymilk with different flavors such as chocolate flavor and vanilla flavor can be found in local markets.

Modern Method
The modern method of processing soymilk

The modern Method of soymilk production occurs in the following steps:

  1. Dehullling- Removal of the hulls, this helps to avoid off flavors and improve soymilk yield.[23]
  2. Blanching- The soy beans are then blanched, cooked in boiling water, in a solution of sodium bicarbonate at a high temperature to hydrate the soybeans for grinding. [24]The immediate blanching of the dehulled soybeans help to prevent oxidation.[25]
  3. Hot Grind - Grinding occurs in a 2 stage grinder, it first goes through rough grinding and then a finer grinding process proceeds. [26]Additional water or thinned soymilk can be added at this step to give the product the desired protein content.[27]
  4. Double Decanting- A decanter centrifuge removes up to 99.8% of solid particles in the product. Removal of insoluble fibres help to give mouth feel in the finished product.[28] A second step process further removes soluble solids to improve the soy milk yield.[29]
  5. Deoderization and Enzyme Inactivation- The soymilk base is then direct steam heated, flash cooling and vacuum deodorization follows to help inactivate enzymes, kill bacteria and remove unwanted flavors. [30]
  6. Formulation- The use of three fomulaton tanks- one for filling, one for emptying and one for holding the batch of soymilk- allow for formulation by the addition of water, sweeteners, flavoring agents and fortification ingredients like vitamins and minerals.[31][32]
  7. Homogenization- The soymilk is homogenized by forcing it through tiny holes under great pressure to break down fat particles and prevent separation of the mixture. A stabilizer and emulsifier is added after to improve stability and prevent the separation of fat.[33]
  8. Direct Ultra-high-temperature (UHT) Processing- Direct steam injection to heat the soymilk to 138-145°C for a few seconds followed by flash cooling helps to further deodorize and remove traces of "beany" flavor. [34]
  9. Storing- The cooled milk is kept in aseptic. sealed tanks and held there for packaging.[35]
  10. Packaging- The soymilk is sent to packaging machines to be packaged in the desired container.[36]

Packaging and Storage

Bottle, Tetrapak and Tear Tab Can Packaging

Small backyard industries produce soymilk by traditional method and pack it into glasses or plastic bags.[37] Large industries produce soymilk with more advanced methods and sophisticated equipment.[37] In the large-scale production, soymilk is being treated with conventional sterilization or ultra high temperature sterilization, and then packaged into bottles, tetrapak, cartons, and tear tab cans.[37]

Concerns

Allergy

As listed by Heath Canada, Soy is one of the top nine food allergens in Canada. People with soy allergies should avoid foods containing soy and soy derivatives.[38] Soy allergies are most common in infants and is seen to develop at the age of three months.[39] By the age of two most infants outgrow their soy allergy but a severe soy allergy can last a lifetime.[40]

Flavour Deterioration

During the grinding process of the soaked beans in the traditional method, the enzymatic oxidation of lipids causes deterioration of the soy milk flavour.[41] However, consumers from western countries do not favour the flavour produced that comes with the traditional production method; therefore, modifications to improve the flavour of soymilk such as controlling temperature or soaking time, are being applied into production to meet the demands of western countries.[42] Dry heat roasting of the whole soy beans have also been applied to inactivate the enzyme that produces the off flavor.[41]

Almond Milk

History

While soy milk and soy food sales decline in North America, almond milk is another milk alternative that is quickly gaining popularity. The two major brands owning market share are Blue Diamond and Silk. [43] Almond milk is widely used by vegetarians, vegans, and those with dairy, gluten, wheat, or soy allergies.[44]

The Blossoms and Nuts of an Almond Tree

Originally indigenous to Spain and Portugal, Almond trees now flourish all around the world. In the 1700's, monks transplanted almond trees from Spain to California, which led the state to it's current status as the world's primary grower of almonds.[45]

Production

Manufacturers produce almond milk on a large scale. First, raw almonds are blanched and cooled. After the skins are removed, the nuts are crushed into almond butter, and then blended with fresh water, stabilizers, vitamins and sometimes a sweetener (such as evaporated cane juice), then strained using cheesecloth, or a similar fabric.[46] Unlike other types of ‘milk’ that are fortified with vitamins, and minerals, almond milk isn’t because these nutrients are naturally found in high concentrations in almonds already. Also, almond milk doesn’t contain animal by products.[47]

Packaging and Storage

Most of the milk alternatives on the market are stored in tetra packs.

One of the biggest factors for almond milks’ surge in popularity has been the introduction of almond milk in refrigerated cases, which are sold next to cow’s milk in grocery stores.[48] The refrigerated almond milk is stored in cardboard cartons, while the shelf-stable cartons are tetra packs (layers of laminated plastic, aluminum and paper) that keep for months, according to the “Use-By date” on the carton.[49] Upon opening the tetra-packed almond milk, it can be kept in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.[44] The increase in almond milk sales has caught the attention of the dairy industry. In the United States, a lobby for dairy farmers requested the FDA to ban the work ‘milk’ from the names of non-dairy products and suggested they should instead be called “plant-derived imitation products”.[48]

Concerns

Almond Milk Enriched with Calcium, Vitamin D & E

Because almond milk comes from a tree nut, this must be labeled as an allergen on the packaging. Almond milk is not safe for individuals who have a tree nut allergy. However, it is safe for individuals who are lactose intolerant, or who are allergic to gluten or casein because this product is free of said allergens.[47] Dairy milk is often praised for its nutrient content and its beneficial effects on growth. To strengthen and promote growth of bones, children are encouraged to drink calcium-rich milk. Modern milk alternatives, which are often enriched with calcium and vitamin D, allow children who have milk allergies to gain the benefits of milk. Single serving containers of almond milk and chocolate almond milk are available to be included in regular school lunches, so children can reach their DV of 1000mg (1300mg for age 9 to 18) of calcium everyday.[50][50]

Milk Alternative Products Regulations

Comparing Milks: on the left is cow's milk; on the right is Blue Diamond "Almond Breeze"

There are no particular restrictions on milk alternative products in terms of packaging and nutritional values according to Health Canada (HC) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). However, as plant-based milk alternative products become more popular to people who are lactose intolerance and vegans as a great source of protein and other vitamins and minerals, HC and CFIA consider to regulate some nutrition contents, packaging and fortification of milk alternative products[51][52]

Packaging and Nutrition Values

According to HC’s tentative labelling and packaging regulations, milk alternative products must contain more than 2.5g of protein that is equivalent amount of more than 75% of casein (milk protein) per 100ml of milk, less than 3.3 g of fat per 100 ml of which less than 65% must be saturated fatty acids, less than 5% trans fatty acids and more than 2.5% linoleic acid. Also, the products must contain the nutrients in Table 1[51][52].

If the products meet all the requirements except for the protein content, one must state on the package that the products are “Not a source of protein” and if the products meet all of the requirements, the products can be called “fortified (naiming plant) beverage.” Labelling requirements in terms of quantity and serving sizes are the same as regular products[51][52].

Table I

Column 1 Column 2
Item Vitamin or Mineral Nutrient Amount per 100 mL ready-to-serve
1. vitamin A 40 RE
2. vitamin D 0.85 ug
3. vitamin B12 0.4 ug
4. riboflavin 0.15 mg
5. calcium 125 mg
6. zinc 0.4 mg
7. thiamine 0.04 mg

Allergen Regulation

Allergen labeling on packaging

HC and CFIA also state that since soy beans, almonds and other nut products are the major food allergens, one must follow all required processes during food production, process, packaging and labelling in order to prevent the occurrence of allergens and cross-contamination of other food products. Soy and almond milk producers must state on the packages and ingredient labels that the products contain soy or almonds. All equipments that are used during the production, storage and transfer of foods that contain food allergens must not be used to process other non-allergen containing foods [53]

References

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