The client that today goes to the super will realize that he lives in the country of a thousand milks. A situation very different from that of 70 years ago, when practically all the supply consumed in Spain was raw milk that came from the direct sale of livestock farms. Things started to change at the beginning of the fifties with the construction of dairies offering fresh or slightly pasteurized milk. The prolegómenos of the current situation are in the sixties with the commercialization of the first long-term milks, UHT, from industries such as Larsa or Ato, although the explosion of this type of offer did not occur until the seventies from Leche Pascual , by the hand of the Tetra group, which was the tip for the sale of fresh milk in Spain.
Today, dairy companies offer an endless proposal of types according to their nutritional composition, their heat treatment, their enrichment with other products, the feeding of the animals, their management or their level of well-being. It is an industrial strategy to respond to the new demands of consumers, but also to try to recover a consumption that fell from 100 liters per person per year at the beginning of the 21st century to the current 70 liters. Parallel to this decline there has been an increase in the sale of different food beverages from almonds, soybeans, oats, rice or quinoa that, until the ruling of the Court of Justice in 2017, were being marketed with the word "milk ", Even by some dairies. From then on, only products of animal origin can carry that name or that of "butter".
Depending on the thermal treatment given to it, there are several types. Pasteurized or fresh milk has been subjected to a light heat treatment that destroys the bacteria, but maintains its nutritional and sensory conditions. The commercialized as UHT has been subjected to temperatures of between 120 and 150 degrees for about 20 seconds, maintains its nutritional properties and partially loses sensory. The uperisada milk has a treatment and characteristics similar to the UHT. The sterilized milk has been subjected to temperatures of 120 degrees for a time of between 15 and 30 minutes that destroys all types of microorganisms, but also vitamins. Finally there is the raw milk, which goes from the udder to the table. It keeps all the flavor and smell of milk. In the past, its misuse resulted in different diseases in people such as malt fever. Today your trade is again claiming from some sectors. Its sale is only allowed on a small scale and provided that it complies with the quality regulations. It must be boiled before consumption.
The milk is always white, but it can acquire yellowish tones due to its fat content or after a thermal process. A good milk should have some density. If when moving the glass does not leave a white tear or lumps remain on the walls, that milk may not have been well homogenized or it may have been made from milk powder. Fresh milk must know milk, grass or cereal, it must be sweeter than salty and never sour or bitter.
Due to its composition and nutritional values, the supply of milk according to its fat content goes from the whole, with 3.5%, to the semi-skimmed, with 1.5%, and the skimmed, with less than 0.5% , along with a wide range of milks enriched with products such as omega3, with unsaturated fatty acids, with more calcium or with fiber.
At present, different types of milk have broken into the shelves according to livestock feeding, handling, types of pastures and, also, due to the conditions of the farms, whether the cows enjoy animal welfare standards or not, milks that some they call it ethical and aesthetic.
Among this offer is firstly organic milk, that of animals that, in addition to welfare, have a diet based on grasses free of herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers and supported with non-transgenic feed. Gaspar Anabitarte, head of the agrarian organization Ugam-Coag in Cantabria, is an environmentalist farmer convinced both by what he supposes of real respect for the environment and by the treatment given to animals in extensive exploitations, of the most reduced productions and of animals not treated with hormones or antibiotics. "This is true animal welfare," he says. The organic is a milk with less protein, but with a 50% increase in omega3 fatty acids, beneficial to the heart. In Spain, their demand does not exceed 0.3% compared to 11% in Germany or France.
Depending on the handling and feeding of the animals, milk from grass cows that feed on fodder and feed, and so-called grazing milks from cows that must be grazing in the field at least 150 days a year, have arisen. five hours a day.
The ecological fashion
Finally, the last novelty of this type of offer has been the one undertaken by Pascual advertising milk from cows with animal welfare in farms that comply with Welfare Quality protocols in terms of accommodation, without stress, adequate feed, water and sanitation with the Aenor verification.
From the Food Research and Technology Institute of Catalonia (IRTA) and the Agrarian Research and Training Center of Cantabria (CIFA), those responsible for research in the sector, Antonio Velarde and Ana Villar, agree with the farmers that the composition The nutritional status of milk is only directly related to the genetics of animals and their diet, but not to the fact that they enjoy animal welfare or not. In this line, the taste and smell of cow's milk fed with high mountain pastures, by the type of herbs, does have the possibility of being different from those obtained by other types of pastures. Antonio Velarde apostille that obviously a farm with animal welfare certificate gives greater security that occurs under conditions of food and health. But for Román Santalla, head of Unións Agrarias in Galicia, today 95% of the farms have animal welfare conditions. Rosario Arredondo, Cantabrian cattle rancher and president of the dairy interprofessional, asserts: "My cows do not have seal of animal welfare, but they enjoy it".
From the nutritionist point of view, Pilar Riobó, head of endocrinology at the Jiménez Díaz Foundation and dietitian, points out that there is no serious work stating that farm milk with an animal welfare seal is different from the others. And spokespersons of the industrial sector, as Laura Gonzalez, responsible for nutrition of Nestle, is clear: "Cows farms with animal welfare can produce more or be longer, but do not generate milk with different characteristics or composition to other cows "