Dairy products or milk products are a type of food produced from or containing the milk of mammals, most commonly cattle, water buffaloes, goats, sheep, and camels. Dairy products include food items such as yogurt, cheese and butter. A facility that produces dairy products is known as a dairy, or dairy factory. Dairy products are consumed worldwide, with the exception of most of East and Southeast Asia and parts of central Africa.
Milk is produced after optional homogenization or pasteurization, in several grades after standardization of the fat level, and possible addition of the bacteria Streptococcus lactis and Leuconostoc citrovorum. Milk can be broken down into several different categories based on type of product produced, including cream, butter, cheese, infant formula, and yogurt.
- Scalded milk
- Condensed milk, milk which has been concentrated by evaporation, with sugar added for reduced process time and longer life in an opened can
- Evaporated milk, (less concentrated than condensed) milk without added sugar
- Baked milk is milk simmered on low heat for long time which results in mild caramelization. Particularly popular in Eastern Europe.
- Dulce de leche
- Powdered milk (or milk powder), produced by removing the water from (usually skim) milk
- Khoa, milk which has been completely concentrated by evaporation, used in Indian cuisine
- Infant formula, dried milk powder with specific additives for feeding human infants
- High milk-fat and nutritional products (for infant formulas)
- Whey, the liquid drained from curds and used for further processing or as a livestock feed
- Buttermilk, the liquid left over after producing butter from cream, often dried as livestock feed
- Milk skin
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- Soured milk obtained by fermentation with mesophilic bacteria, mainly Lactococcus lactis and other bacterial cultures and yeasts
- Cultured buttermilk resembling buttermilk, but uses different yeast and bacterial cultures
- Clabber, milk naturally fermented to a yogurt-like state
- Kefir, fermented milk drink from the Northern Caucasus
- Kumis, fermented mares' milk popular in Central Asia
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Yogurt, milk fermented by thermophilic bacteria, mainly Streptococcus salivarius ssp. thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus sometimes with additional bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus
Butter, mostly milk fat, produced by churning cream
- Ghee also called, clarified butter, by gentle heating of butter and removal of the solid matter
- Rennet-coagulated cheeses
- Acid-set or sour milk cheeses
- Whey cheese is a dairy product made from whey and thus technically not cheese.
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- Caseinates, sodium or calcium salts of casein
- Milk protein concentrates and isolates
- Whey protein concentrates and isolates, reduced lactose whey
- Hydrolysates, milk treated with proteolytic enzymes to alter functionality
- Mineral concentrates, byproduct of demineralizing whey
Dairy products may upset the digestive system in individuals with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy. People who experience lactose intolerance usually avoid milk and other lactose-containing dairy products, which may cause mild side effects, such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and nausea.
Consumption of dairy products does not cause mucus production, and does not worsen common cold or asthma symptoms. A 2019 review indicated there is no convincing evidence on whether an association between dairy consumption and risk of cancers exists.
Rates of dairy consumption vary widely worldwide. High-consumption countries consume more than 150 kilograms per capita per year. These countries are: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Costa Rica, most European countries, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, North America and Pakistan. Medium-consumption countries consume 30 to 150 kilograms per capita per year. These countries are: India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, North and Southern Africa, most of the Middle East, and most of Latin America and the Caribbean. Low-consumption countries consume under 30 kilograms per capita per year. These countries are: Senegal, most of Central Africa, and most of East and Southeast Asia.
Some groups avoid dairy products for non-health-related reasons. Some religions restrict or do not allow the consumption of dairy products. For example, some scholars of Jainism advocate not consuming any dairy products because dairy is perceived to involve violence against cows. Orthodox Judaism requires that meat and dairy products not be served at the same meal, served or cooked in the same utensils, or stored together, as prescribed in Deuteronomy 14:21.
Veganism is the avoidance of all animal products, including dairy products, most often due to the ethics regarding how dairy products are produced. The ethical reasons for avoiding meat and dairy products include how dairy is produced, how the animals are handled, and the environmental effect of dairy production. According to a report of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in 2010 the dairy sector accounted for 4 percent of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
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In recent times, out of concern for the treatment of cows in commercial dairy farming, some Jains in the diaspora and in India now observe a vegan diet and discourage the use of dairy products in temple rituals.
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