Dairy Dialog podcast 154: Danone North America, Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, PerkinElmer

By Jim Cornall contact

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Dairy Dialog podcast 154: Danone North America, Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, PerkinElmer
Dairy Dialog podcast 154: Danone North America, Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, PerkinElmer

Related tags: PerkinElmer, Danone, Danone North America, Probiotics, Prebiotics, postbiotics, microbiome, GDP, Dairy

On this week’s podcast, we have conversations with Wopke Beukema, senior manager R&D at PerkinElmer, Inc.; Miguel Freitas, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs, and Kristie Leigh, registered dietitian nutritionist and senior manager of scientific affairs at Danone North America; and Donald Moore, executive director of Global Dairy Platform.

PerkinElmer introduces IndiScope for dairy collection point milk tests

PerkinElmer, Inc. has launched the IndiScope raw milk analysis solution.

The solution is designed to help milk collection points perform fast and accurate testing to determine fair market value and help ensure a safe raw milk supply chain for consumers.

Based on PerkinElmer’s Spectrum Two FT-IR, the IndiScope is designed for low maintenance and ease of use including the pre-calibrated instrument with pre-defined methods, built-in software for easy integration with other systems and PerkinElmer consumables.

With the IndiScope solution, milk collection stations can quickly and easily test milk’s composition for fat and protein levels and detect adulterants such as water, maltodextrin and urea. Results are delivered in under 30 seconds - enabling up to 400 samples to be processed daily.

Featuring a touch screen interface, the system requires minimal training and helps reduce human error. The solution’s workflow meets ISO, IDF and AOAC guidance for testing repeatability and data can be saved via built-in USB ports or exported to a PC. With FT-IR optics hermetically-sealed to keep out dirt, dust and moisture, the IndiScope solution’s design is field-ready. Parts can be serviced through the instrument’s front end and the solution is economical to operate.

To help customers experience the IndiScope solution’s streamlined workflow first-hand and without having to leave their farm, bench or desk, the Company has also launched the PerkinElmer Virtual Reality (VR) Demo Center of Excellence for Food Testing.  In this immersive environment customers can operate the simple IndiScope workflow to interact with the instrument, run samples and see results. Visitors can also navigate other PerkinElmer food solutions and automation technologies including the LC 300 UHPLC system with SimplicityChrom CDS software, Solus DS2 platform, Janus G3 Automated Workstation, NexION 5000 ICP-MS, and QSight Triple Quad MS used for pesticide, mycotoxin, food borne pathogen and quality testing.

“Global consumers are increasingly demanding higher quality, purer dairy products and, in turn, regulators around the world are working to improve the quality and safety of the milk supply chain,”​ said Greg Sears, VP and GM of food at PerkinElmer.

“Having easy to use, affordable and powerful testing technologies that start earlier in the milk and dairy product cycle will help. That’s what the IndiScope solution is all about and we’re excited to demonstrate the benefits of this new technology and other food testing innovations to customers and other key players in the food testing ecosystem in our new virtual reality demo environment.”

Danone looks to counter microbiome myths

Products claiming to improve gut health are flying off shelves, yet many fail to live up to their claims and consumers are confused on how to evaluate what they see on the label, suggests a new national survey from Danone North America.

KRC Research conducted an online survey of 1,004 general population adults (ages 18+) across the US in August, 2021, which showed consumers are increasingly interested in foods and beverages that support gut health (71%), yet they’re not entirely familiar with the “gut microbiome” – or the trillions of microbes and their byproducts in our digestive tract.

Only about half (49%) understood the link between the microbiome and digestive health.  Even fewer recognized the impact of the microbiome on overall health, including our immune system (43%), weight management (43%) and mental wellbeing (33%).

“Research on the gut microbiome is rapidly advancing and we are just beginning to recognize the full extent of the role that gut microbes play in health and disease,”​ said Miguel Freitas, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs at Danone North America.

“With greater knowledge of the gut microbiome’s health significance, we are focused on how the gut microbiome can be influenced, including the use of biotics – such as probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics.”

While the scientific evidence and consumer interest on gut health is growing, there’s a surprising amount of confusion on the subject, the company said.  The new consumer survey revealed five major myths on the microbiome and probiotics. 

MYTH: All fermented foods and beverages contain probiotics

More than half (52%) believe they’re getting probiotic benefits when consuming fermented foods and beverages, which include kombucha, vinegar, sauerkraut, pickles and sourdough bread. 

Kristie Leigh, a registered dietitian nutritionist and senior manager of scientific affairs at Danone North America, said, “Yes, these products contain bacteria as part of the fermentation process, but not all live microbes are necessarily probiotics. Probiotics are live strain specific microorganisms that have been studied and shown to provide a health benefit.  Additionally, many of these fermented products go through further processing, such as pasteurization and baking, that will kill the live microbes.”

MYTH: All live and active cultures are probiotics

It’s frequently assumed “live and active cultures” on a label means a probiotic product, a belief held by 47% of consumers.

“Live and active cultures are microbes, but they’re not all created equal,”​ Leigh said.

“While all yogurts have live and active cultures, not all yogurts contain probiotic strains that provide specific health benefits, such as supporting gut health or supporting the immune system.  Many of these cultures are used for fermentation but have not been directly tested for health benefits. Only live microbes that have been shown to have a health effect can be technically called a probiotic.”

MYTH: Products boasting a higher number of colony-forming units (CFUs) on the label are more effective as a probiotic

“Don’t count on it,”​ said Freitas, who has led multiple studies at Danone documenting the probiotic benefits of Activia and DanActive.  

“More isn’t necessarily better, although 59% believed a higher CFU count equaled a superior effect. It’s about the specific strain at the right amount that really matters.” 

MYTH: You should not take probiotics while using antibiotics

More than half (52%) thought taking antibiotics meant you needed to avoid probiotics.  Freitas said there is no reason to avoid probiotics if you’re prescribed antibiotics. Consuming probiotics regularly adds good bacteria to the gut, especially if it was negatively affected by antibiotic use.

MYTH: Probiotic supplements are equivalent to probiotics in food

Probiotics supplements are widely promoted, and 47% of consumers believe they’re just as good as probiotics in food.  Yet Leigh said these probiotic pills can vary significantly in quality, including the strains and concentration of microbes.

“It’s not always easy to know what you’re buying.  Consuming probiotics in a food, such as a probiotic yogurt like Activia, is a better approach because you’re getting other valuable nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.  Additionally, products like Activia and DanActive, the probiotic pioneers, have close to 50 clinical studies, going back more than 20 years.”

While there’s a greater awareness of probiotics, fewer Americans understand the larger biotics family, which includes prebiotics (dietary fibers that nourish the good bacteria in our gut) and postbiotics (inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that provide a health benefit). 

More than two-thirds of US adults (67%) recognize probiotics have a positive impact on our overall health, yet the awareness of the benefits of prebiotics (34%) and postbiotics (14%) is lower.  More than three-quarters of adults (76%) admit they are unfamiliar with or unsure of the impact of postbiotics – which is quickly emerging as a trending functional ingredient.

“It is clear that there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding when it comes to topics related to gut health and biotics,”​ Freitas said. 

“Danone North America has a long legacy of supporting education around the gut microbiome, and we are committed to making the information digestible and accessible to all.” 

Support for Pathways to Dairy Net Zero includes 11 of 20 largest global dairy companies

Pathways to Dairy Net Zero, a new climate initiative, is launching during Climate Week and just prior to the United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit.

Forty organizations, including 11 of the 20 largest dairy companies in the world, have declared their support for the effort. Collectively, these companies represent approximately 30% of total milk production worldwide.

“Pathways to Dairy Net Zero will accelerate climate efforts already under way and drive further necessary action to reduce dairy’s emissions over the next decades. The dairy sector has a lot to offer to lead this transition,”​ said Hein Schumacher, CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina and chairman of Global Dairy Platform.

Dairy companies supporting Pathways to Dairy Net Zero

Nestlé
Dairy Farmers of America
Danone
Fonterra Co-operative Group
Royal FrieslandCampina
Arla Foods
China Mengniu Dairy Company
Saputo
Meiji Holdings
Savencia Fromage & Dairy
Agropur Dairy Cooperative
Ace Farming Company
Agri Networking Tools
Australian Dairy Products Federation
Brazzale
Dairy Australia
Dairy Connect
Dairy Farmers of Canada
Dairy Management Inc.
Dairy UK
Dutch Dairy Association
First Milk
FOSS Analytics
Glanbia
Granja Tepeyac
Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
International Dairy Foods Association
La Vida Lactea
Land O’Lakes
Lekhanath Dairy International
Leprino Foods Company
Livestock Improvement Corporation
Megmilk Snow Brand
Morinaga Milk Industry
National Dairy Development Board (India)
National Milk Producers Federation
Palmhouse Dairies
Pioneer Natural Capital
Royal DSM
U.S. Dairy Export Council

“Mengniu is proud to join the global dairy sector in uniting behind this effort, the first of its kind in agriculture, because we must all do our part to meet this worldwide climate challenge,”​ said Minfang (Jeffrey) Lu, CEO and executive director of China Mengniu Dairy Company.

The multi-stakeholder group of organizations, including the global dairy sector and representatives from the scientific and research communities, are working together to develop science-based methodologies, tools and pathways that work for every dairy system.

Research is under way to identify where positive climate change action is possible. The study is led by Scotland’s Rural College and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, research institutions from two of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases’ 65 member countries, backed up by data and analysis from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

The organizations said the initial research found the dairy sector already has the means to reduce up to 40% of emissions in some systems by improving productivity and resource use efficiency.

Researchers are identifying plausible GHG mitigation pathways for different dairy systems globally, in particular methane reduction. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report reaffirmed the main GHG challenge is the reduction of carbon dioxide, which remains in the atmosphere for centuries. The report also identified reductions in methane, a potent but short-lived climate pollutant that lasts only about 12 years in the atmosphere, as an immediate opportunity to address global warming.

Pathways to Dairy Net Zero brings together dairy systems of every size and type, including organizations throughout the dairy supply chain.  Partners are: Global Dairy Platform, International Dairy Federation, Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform, International Livestock Research Institute, Dairy Sustainability Framework and IFCN Dairy Research Network.

The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases is a knowledge partner.

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