Dairy Dialog podcast 160: Defend Our Health, DSM, Milcobel

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Dairy Dialog podcast 160: Defend Our Health, DSM, Milcobel
Dairy Dialog podcast 160: Defend Our Health, DSM, Milcobel

Related tags Food safety Health Dsm food specialties Dsm Cheese Sustainability

This week on the podcast, we have interviews with Pim van Hee, innovation manager dairy and dairy alternatives, and Eric van den Berg, product application expert phages, at DSM Food Specialties; research analyst at Defend Our Health, Roopa Krithivasan; and Pascale Van Leeuwen, marketing manager for consumer products at Milcobel.

We also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Charlie Hyland at StoneX.

New online guide to toxic-free food safety launched

 A new online resource – Toxic-Free Food Contact – provides practical guidance to the food and beverage industry on how to identify safer and more sustainable food packaging, food processing equipment, and food service ware.

The free web-based resource, developed by the organization Defend Our Health, identifies suppliers of preferred food contact materials across the supply chain from farm to fork. It ranks food-handling products by safety and sustainability, including dairy inflations, plastic tubing, conveyor belts, food packaging, cling film, disposable gloves, and more.

The guide is intended to help companies avoid chemicals of consumer concern that may migrate into food products during processing, packaging, and service.

Matt Thomas, founder and CEO of Brew Dr Kombucha, endorsed the new online resource. He said, “Food business owners may not be well versed in the environmental health impacts associated with food production and packaging. This website makes it very clear what brands should look out for, what questions to ask suppliers, and what products to avoid. The list of potential suppliers is particularly helpful.”

Consumers continue to rate “chemicals in food” as their top food safety concern, according to the annual survey by the International Food Information Council. One recent peer-reviewed research study found plastics-related chemicals in every sample of fast food tested.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded: “…that chemicals used in food and food contact materials may contribute to disease and disability … Children may be particularly susceptible to the effects of these compounds…,” based on growing scientific evidence.

Defend Our Health, which researched and produced the Toxic-Free Food Contact​ guide, is a nonprofit organization working to ensure all people have equal access to safe food and drinking water, healthy homes, and products that are toxic-free and climate-friendly.

Milcobel set to launch CO2-neutral Brugge Cheese

At the start of 2022, Belgian dairy cooperative Milcobel will launch its range of Brugge CO2 neutral cheeses onto the market.

In doing so, the cooperative said it is catering to the trend where sustainability and CO2 reduction are prioritized. Brugge Kaas is a locally-produced cheese with what the company said is a limited ecological footprint.

Thijs Keersebilck, managing director of consumer products & service at Milcobel, said, "The question of sustainability is high on our customers' agendas, and consumers are also thinking more than ever about what they eat and where it comes from. Moreover, many consumers are looking for ways to contribute to the climate debate. By offering a CO2-neutral cheese, conscious consumers can make a more sustainable choice within the cheese range.

"Europe is raising the bar with its 'Fit for 55' and 'Farm to Fork' programs within the Green Deal, so we want to do our bit. As a company, we consider it our duty to keep in touch with the ecological evolutions and additional requirements, but we also want to show more ambition and do our part. Through CO2 reduction and compensation, we are drastically lowering our impact."

To be able to claim the label of CO2-neutral cheese, Milcobel is working with CO2Logic. There are several requirements attached to the use of the label. First of all, all greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide) in the chain are calculated 'cradle to gate', from cow to cheese.

"More than half of our dairy farmers are already using renewable energy today, and two-thirds are implementing energy-reducing measures. In addition, we are participating in all kinds of pilot projects with the ILVO research institute on reducing methane emissions from cows and storing CO2 in grassland,"​ Keersebilck said.

"We focus on raising awareness and stimulating sustainable projects via a sustainability premium."

Over the past five years, Milcobel said it has reduced the energy efficiency per kilogram of cheese by 23% at its production sites. The objective is to further reduce emissions from its production process by 35% by 2035. Energy-efficient processes and further efficiency improvements will contribute to this. Combined heat and power plants provide more sustainable energy.

Milcobel added approximately half of the water required is extracted from milk processing and then purified and upgraded to drinking water quality, after which it is used, for example, to clean equipment. Efforts are also being made to make packaging more sustainable.

"Over the past three years, we have used 23% less plastic for our cheese packaging. By 2023, all our cheese packaging should be 100% recyclable, and the proportion of recycled plastic packaging should increase further,”​ Keersebilck said.

The company said CO2-neutral production throughout the chain is virtually impossible, so the remaining CO2 emissions are compensated through a certified windmill project in India in collaboration with CO2LOGIC.

"We would have liked to support a local project, but in Europe and Belgium, carbon farming is still in its infancy. The regulatory framework is lacking, as are agreements on measuring, monitoring and compensation. Other countries are more advanced in this respect. These are, therefore, plans for the future,"​ said CEO Nils van Dam.

"What is particularly important to us in terms of sustainability is support from our farmers and a pragmatic approach tailored to all our dairy farmers. We can already be very proud of what our dairy farmers have achieved thus far.”

The CO2-neutral Brugge cheeses will be on the shelves from February 2022.

DSM launches one-hour phage detection technology for dairy

Global nutrition, health and bioscience company Royal DSM has launched the latest additions to its integrated portfolio of phage management solutions: the new DelvoPhage test kit and DelvoAnalytics app.

DSM’s DelvoPhage test kit can detect phages in dairy within an hour, helping increase cheese yield and quality, reduce waste and boost value in cheese production by 5-10%.

Part of DSM’s broader phage management solution, the new DelvoAnalytics app offers a 24/7 platform for phage insights and data from whey samples of production. It enables dairy manufacturers to take immediate action on results with customized culture rotation recommendations.

Together with DSM’s whey testing and culture rotation services, the new digital solutions enable cheese and fermented milk product producers to make data-driven decisions in real-time for more efficient and cost-effective production processes.

While phage testing is a common practice within dairies, receiving results can take anywhere from four hours to over a week. At that point, it is often too late to prevent the effects of phage contamination on the performance of cultures or the duration of the fermentation process. DSM said one week of phage-affected cheese production can result in cheese waste and losses of up to €200,000 ($115,000).

DSM’s newly-expanded, integrated phage-management solution is suitable for cheese and fermented milk products. DelvoPhage is a digital qPCR test kit offering quantitative phage detection results ‘on the spot’ at several steps during production. It enables active bacteriophage monitoring and management in mesophilic and thermophilic dairy processes for reliable and consistent production, providing an early warning system for preventing phage problems.

DSM said with increased consistency, dairies can increase production capacity and improve cheese and fermented dairy product quality, while reducing economic losses by preventing waste, minimizing production slowdowns and improving sustainability.

After submitting whey samples for testing, dairy manufacturers can view the results of the phage analysis on the new DelvoAnalytics app and access insights into phage results and trends. Based on these data, DSM can provide culture rotation and process recommendations via the app which is available on computer, tablet or phone.

“Bacteriophage contamination is a challenge faced by nearly all cheese manufacturers and lengthy testing timings have long been a substantial barrier to combating issues caused by phages,”​ Evandro Oliveira de Souza, cheese global business lead at DSM, said.

“Our team of dedicated dairy experts understand these challenges and can help customers identify areas for improvement and implement a culture rotation strategy that enables them to stay one step ahead of phages – and the competition. Dairies can have peace of mind that whenever issues occur, DSM is the ideal partner to provide support and lead them in the right direction towards higher quality cheese.”

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