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25% of flavored milks contain no actual milk

Nov 29,2017
A quarter of flavored milk products sold in Korea do not actually contain any milk, according to a local consumer group.

After analyzing 60 flavored milk products sold at discount chains and convenience stores nationwide, Consumer Research found that 25 percent did not contain milk at all.

Despite having milk on the label, these products used a combination of water, dairy fat and powder to replicate milk. Six of the fifteen products were produced by Dongwon F&B and four by Purmil.

According to the consumer group, such products are “processed dairy beverages,” not milk, and the names of the products should reflect that.

Of the remaining products, 34 were less than 50 percent milk, and also used dairy fats and powdered milk to make up the difference.

Binggrae’s highly popular Banana Milk ranked the highest on the list in terms of milk content.

Although the distinction between the two may not be noticeable to the human eye, reconstituted milk is generally cheaper and easier to store or transfer. Its main ingredient is powdered skimmed milk, which is produced after dairy fat is removed from the milk and it is then dried into a powder.

This process can reduce both the nutritional properties of the milk and its flavor, which is why reconstituted milk generally falls behind in these two categories.

Reconstituted milk in local dairy products is often imported from abroad because of lower prices, sometimes lower than half the price of regular milk, according to the group.

Sixteen out of 60 products investigated did not specify the origin of the reconstituted milk or dairy fat. Among the 44 that did, only four turned out to contain domestic products.

All 60 products indicate somewhere that they are “processed milk” or a “dairy beverage.” Consumer Research says this is not enough considering consumers’ lack of knowledge on the legal definition of dairy products.

“Labeling their products ‘milk’ can cause confusion for children and parents who believe they are consuming fresh milk when they pick them,” said Choi Hyun-sook, a representative of Consumer Report. “There needs to be a clearer indication standard.”


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]