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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Things That Happen To Me These Days...

Things that I would like to share with readers...


Dear Prof Azhar,

Assalamualaikum wbt and a very good morning.

I am Nor Izyati Md. Rahim, your USM Food Technology ex-student batch 2006-2010 which was graduated last year in August, 2010. Right now I am working in a health and nutrition communication consultant and would like to ask you some questions on behalf of the Nutrition Month Malaysia 2011, the annual nutrition promotion campaign jointly organised by the Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM), the Malaysian Dietitians’ Association (MDA) and the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (MASO).

Recently, I am sure you have watched the advertisement on TV and newspaper about Fonterra (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd claims that their growing up milk (Anmum Essential) has no added sugar which is very good for the children, and they are the only milk company that does not add sugar in their milk product. This claim has exaggerated the milk industry where most of the growing up milk company are nervous and said that the claim is too much and they have already followed the food act about the necessary amount of sugar to be added in milk.

For your information, right now the Steering Committee (SC) of the Nutrition Month Malaysia 2011 which is chaired by Dr. Tee E Siong, the president of Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM) are having discussion and decided to write an article to overcome the situation and explain the truth to the society. The claim has also made the mothers becoming sensitive of the sugar in milk and some of them have opinion that milk is not good as it contains added sugar, thus no need to give their children milk, as recently there are issues about obesity in children. But the SC members think that it is not suppose to happen, as some sugar is also needed and good for children.

We have some questions to ask you as the expert in food processing:

1) As an expert in food processing, what is your opinion on this issue? Prof Dr Azhar: As below.

2) We found that in food labels of milk powder product, they listed ‘lactose’ as the ingredients (but not in fresh milk). Does that mean that they add the lactose instead of having it naturally in milk?
Prof Dr Azhar: Sometimes lactose is added to standardize solid milk.

3) We understand that adding sugar might give some advantages to the production of milk, that is increasing the palatability and also the volume of the milk after being spray dried. But referring to Fonterra (Anmum Essential) case, is it still ok if the milk did not added with any sugar, no matter how and what type of sugar it is?
Prof Dr Azhar: There are other milk in the market that do not list sucrose. It is OK without sugar, it's a choice. really we need to run sensory evaluation to prove a point - added sugar enhances taste, motivating milk drinking, good for their growth.

Thank you for your time reading the email. Appreciate your opinions as we need also some thought from a food technology expert and concern in terms of giving knowledge and true understanding about the situation to the society.

Thank you.

Warmest Regards,
Nutrition Month Malaysia 2011

Nor Izyati Md. Rahim
Communications Executive


Salam Nor Izyati,
thank you for the questions.

Yes Anmum is promoting their milk well. However it is all based on perception rather than true value. The value delivered to consumers are simply perceived value. There is no study to support the idea that added sugar in milk is harmful in any way.

If we run sensory evaluation on all the milk on the market then we might find out the reason for adding sugar, that is to improve taste and flavor. Food technologists use their formulation skills to produce milk that is perceived as tasty and nutritious. Not many kids like drinking milk as it is, thus sugar is essential in order to motivate daily consumption. These kids are young and their metabolic rates are high. Consuming milk with added sugar would not cause obesity, in fact the energy obtained from the sugar is used for building tissues and growth.

The other companies could join fonterra, or they can relaunch their milk as products with more carbo-energy for growth (another perceived value). (more views above in green)

Azhar Mat Easa


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the feedback you received from Prof Azhar. It is actually very confusing what Anmum has raised - 13 spoons of sugar per day in milk doesn't sound real. From what i know children do need sugar and was researching some more other milk brands - dutch lady website and dumex explaining about added sugar and why its needed to avoid lactose intolerance. Also is the semak gula website correct? Because they are sayign that carbohydrate in milk is = sugar..... both dumex and dutch lady says its not, and I think it could be true from what I learnt in science before. Could you share your feedback on this? because other websites i read are also equally confusing. Tq

Syaima' Azure said...

Dear anonymous,
Thank you for the response.

As a person who works for Nutrition Month Malaysia, I have no intention to involve in anything that benefits any food company. My concern is just to give enough and correct information to the societies as part of my responsibilities. And I can't comment any further as it might give bad reputation to other parties without noticing as well.

As such, maybe you would like to monitor and get involve in Nutrition Month Malaysia, as the Steering Commitee has already published series of Educational Press Article in the newspapers such as Mingguan Malaysia, The Star (Sunday), Kosmo and others. In few weeks later, they will be publishing other topic on milk to correct the misunderstanding that recently occured.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

tq Syaima for ur reply. i look forward to reading the articles in the newspaper. will u also post it on ur website? tq

Anonymous said...

syaima - look at whjat i found - the health ministry has ban the anmum advertising
so the 13 spoons of sugar is not true! is that what you were talking about - as in the articles that the nutrition committee will be doing to clear the misunderstanding? - Aida

Syaima' Azure said...

Dear Aida,

Thanks for sharing the article.

I think so. Because the steering committee (which is the experts from nutrition and dietitian field) has already made some discussion and calculation among themselves in responding the issues about the 13 teaspoons of sugar in other milk products and it seems inaccurate.

But they don't have any right to raise the issue to the public as it might violate the commercial rights of the company.

By the way, I really hope that MOH would continue to monitor things like this so that it will not create any misunderstandings among the society in the future.

Anonymous said...

That's great Syaima! Yes, there should be more regular monitoring on stuff like that. Because wrong information can do so much harm, to wrongly influence mothers!! I'm glad i have been doing my research!