Dairy products or milk products, also known as lacticinia, are food products made from (or containing) milk.[a] The most common dairy animals are cow, water buffalo, nanny goat, and ewe. Dairy products include common grocery store food items in the Western world such as yogurt, cheese and butter. A facility that produces dairy products is known as a dairy.[b] Dairy products are consumed worldwide to varying degrees (see consumption patterns worldwide). Some people avoid some or all dairy products either because of lactose intolerance, veganism, or other health reasons or beliefs.
Main article: List of dairy products
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.
Milk varies in fat content. Skim milk is milk with zero fat, while whole milk products contain fat.
Milk is an ingredient in many confectioneries. Milk can be added to chocolate to produce milk chocolate.
Butter, mostly milk fat, produced by churning cream
Fermented milk products include:
Yogurt, milk fermented by thermophilic bacteria, mainly Streptococcus salivarius ssp. thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus sometimes with additional bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus
Cheese, produced by coagulating milk, separating curds from whey, and letting it ripen, generally with bacteria, and sometimes also with certain molds.
Rates of dairy consumption vary widely worldwide. High-consumption countries consume more than 150 kilograms (330 lb) 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 kilograms (66 lb) to 150 kg 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 kg per capita per year. These countries are: Senegal, most of Central Africa, and most of East and Southeast Asia.
For those with some degree of lactose intolerance, considering the amount of lactose in dairy products can be important to health.
|Dairy product||Amount of lactose|
|Butter||Minimal (made from milk fat)|
|Hard cheese||Very low|
|Soft cheese||More than hard cheese|
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. Such individuals may use non-dairy milk substitutes.
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.
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.
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.