Jerry Dryer, editor of the Dairy & Food Market Analyst and chief market analyst for Rice Dairy in Chicago, admitted in Friday’s DairyLine that MPC imports are “occasionally displacing domestically produced product in the U.S.” but “occasionally we need them. There’s a deficit on some of these products.”
MPC is a product the U.S. didn’t even manufacture until the late 1990s because of the dairy price support program which provided manufacturers the option to make nonfat dry milk and sell it to the government as a market of last resort.
A fair amount of MPC is used by food companies for various applications, according to Dryer, because it has a lot of the lactose removed from it, whereas nonfat dry milk does not, “so MPC has a specific application and specific uses so it is sought after by some food manufacturers.”
U.S. MPC output last year amounted to about 88 million pounds, according to Dryer, who also reported that MPC imports in 2008 amounted to about 109 million pounds and the U.S. actually exported about 62 million pounds “so it’s one of those give and take products.”
Dryer said there is talk in the industry that MPC is being used in cheese manufacturing and displacing milk and while some of that may be true, he said, much of the ultra filtered milk that is used in cheese making is produced right in the plant, that is some of the water and lactose is removed before the milk goes into the vat so it does some replacing, he admitted, but “it’s a product that we need and just isn’t manufactured in an adequate supply in this country right now.”
When asked about the legality of using this as a food ingredient in the eyes of the Food and Drug Administration, Dryer was unsure but said it should be legal. “It’s milk with a little water and lactose removed,” he concluded. “It’s certainly a pure and wholesome product. There should not be any health issue related to it.”