Sunday, 22 November 2009

I Spoke Too Bloody Soon

Nothing like being all wet, not to mention just plain wrong.

I was leafing through the weekly grocery fliers when what to my wondering eye should appear but an ad for Beatrice "Chocolate Dairy Beverage".

A little googling showed me it's even been around for a while. I guess as someone who whizzes through the (liquid) dairy department, grabbing only the occasional litre of buttermilk, I managed to completely miss it.

I went out and checked the ingredients: partly skimmed milk (vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3), modified milk ingredients, sugar, reconstituted skim milk powder, cocoa, dipotassium phosphate, modified corn starch, salt, colour, carageenan, cellulose gum, guar gum, artificial flavour.

Yumm-O.*

They can't call it chocolate milk because it's no such thing. Reconstituted powdered milk, yay. Not to mention the modified milk ingredients.

Let me give you a little hint: never buy ANYTHING containing modified milk ingredients. Yes, there goes most commercial ice-cream, I know. But the more I find out about modified milk ingredients, the more disgusted and horrified I am.

The first time I really noticed them was some time early in the summer. I bought my usual brand of extra-old cheddar cheese: Presidents' Choice, or some such thing. Loblaws house-brand, anyway. It was a decent cheese for the price, very suitable for cooking with. I'd buy something better to eat plain, but as noted, it was fine used in cooked dishes.

However, this time I noticed right away that the quality had dropped considerably. It tasted downright weird, in fact. I checked the ingredients for the first time since I had first started to buy it and discovered the change: modified milk ingredients. I immediately switched to buying Pine River old cheddar. It's a dollar or two more, but it's still actual cheese.

I had not realized just how much imported dairy products have been making their way into Canadian foods over the last decade. Check out this article from CBC on ice-cream and cheese. In particular, that so-called "butteroil" is just vile.

The legal definition, as far as I can find, is as follows: "any of the following in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form, namely, calcium reduced skim milk (obtained by the ion-exchange process), casein, caseinates, cultured milk products, milk serum proteins, ultrafiltered milk, whey, whey butter, whey cream and any other component of milk the chemical state of which has been altered from that in which it is found in milk."

What a dog's breakfast that is. Some of those things sound fine - cultured milk products (yogurt? buttermilk?) whey, whey butter and whey cream - none of those strike me as problematic. The trouble is, which one is being used in the product you've picked up to examine? There is really no way to know, except it's a safe bet that most of it is nasty, ultra-processed reconstituted stuff, and not the "real food" options. I mean, if you make something with yogurt or whey butter, why wouldn't you just say so? Exactly. You would. "Modified milk ingredients" equals "cheap crappy crap" which is why anything with it on the list of ingredients is going to taste bad. And it may not even be Canadian, just as a kicker.

Conclusion: read those labels carefully. Don't buy Beatrice "Dairy" Drink. There's still decent chocolate milk out there, for example PC Organic (all I can easily find around here) contains "organic partly skimmed milk, organic sugar, organic cocoa, organic vanilla, salt, carageenan, guar gum, calcium phosphate, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3."

You could buy Nesquik or some other chocolate syrup and make your own. (Sugar, water, cocoa, colour, salt, citric acid, potassium sorbate, vanillin, ferric orthophosphate). Well, maybe not. How about making your own syrup? I'll post a recipe this week.




*Actually, I haven't tasted this. And I'm not going to. Dipotassium phosphate? No thanks. I can picture it perfectly: sweet and gummy with a faint metallic tang to it.

12 comments:

mamaloo said...

My eldest won't touch "white" milk, so we've always bought the yellow label syrop to chocolate it up. I myself have a soft spot for some chocolate milk as a treat when I'm out getting a sub or slice of 'za. I'll keep an eye out from now on about the modified stuff. You're right, it's disgusting.

An alternative I introduced to my boys (2 and 6) is a 1/4 tsp of vanilla and a shake of cinnamon and suddenly plain old milk is rather a fancy drink. Warm it up and Second Cup would charge $4 for it! And they love it. Thank goodness, because I'm getting sick of paying for the chocolate syrup.

Ferdzy said...

I'm not a big fan of milk in general, and I hate "white" milk too, so my complete sympathy to your eldest.

Although with the vanilla and cinnamon you are straying towards eggnog territory, and mmmm, eggnog. Mind you that'll be another one where READ THE INGREDIENTS, or better yet make your own.

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Ever wonder what happens to all that milk past the expiry date........chocolate dairy drink.
I have so many horror stories concerning processed food.

Al said...

I found out the 'modified milk ingredients' a few months ago. Yes, it certainly seems to be a catch-all for nasty, cheap, and usually imported ingredients. As far as I know, any milk source can be included. Maybe fresh yak milk is a healthy, delicious food, but not dried, modified yak milk from an unknown and unregulated foreign source. The corporations have no pride. Their products simply contain the cheapest ingredients.

Latter-Day Flapper said...

I grew up on skim milk and can't stand the taste of milk fat, but as long as it's skim, I love milk.

But speaking of disgusting fake chocolate drinks . . . remember Yoo Hoo chocolate soda? My mother, brother, and I once went on a road trip with my uncle and his family in my uncle's RV. My mom and aunt bought a pack of Diet Yoo-Hoo to drink, and it tasted to bad they ended up *using it to flush the RV's toilet*. No kidding.

Ferdzy said...

Sam, there's some strange and frightening stuff out there, no question.

Al, exactly.

Flapper, I'm very happy to say that I had never heard of Yoo-Hoo chocolate soda. I guess it never made it up here. Just as well, apparently. Mind you I don't touch anything "diet" with a barge-pole. Just eat less, that's the plan - a plan I'm sure I'll get around to implementing one of these years.

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

I attended the National Restaurant Association Convention in Chicago years back when Neiman Marcus introduced a new line of prepared gourmet foods.
I hate to inform you nut the food had plastic as an ingredient. WTH!
The sales rep claimed the FDA allowed plastic as a food ingredient.
Let me finish with this question;
Do you know why ice cream is so light?

Ferdzy said...

Sam, I'm afraid to ask...?

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

It is called "over run"- the amount of air pumped into the ice cream to lighten the finished product.
Not that scary, however you are buying air.
Never eat orange cheddar, beta carotene gives it the orange colour. Beta carotene is made from pond scum - algae.

Ferdzy said...

Oh air, yes. You can tell the quality of the ice cream by its heft. And algae, well, that's just a vegetable, after all!

talkinghead.ca said...

Real chocolate milk is still out there! You're probably most likely to find Saputo's Neilson or Dairyland brands of real chocolate milk in stores, but they're not the only ones.

K@ said...

I've recently posted about the dairy beverage as well and was also surprised to find out it's been around stores for awhile. I'd never even noticed in the dairy section, but mostly because I try to buy organic and local as much as I can.

It's such a shame that so much of our foods continue to become overly processed. Thank you for posting about this, it's so difficult to find answers about this change in chocolate milk.