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Dairy products or milk products are a type of food produced from or containing the milk of mammals. They are primarily produced from mammals such as cattle, water buffaloes, goats, sheep, camels and humans. Dairy products include food items such as yogurt, cheese and butter.[1][2] A facility that produces dairy products is known as a dairy, or dairy factory.[3] Dairy products are consumed worldwide, with the exception of most of East and Southeast Asia and parts of central Africa.[4]

Types of dairy product


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.

  • 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
  • Malai
  • 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

Milk is an ingredient in many confectioneries. Milk can be added to chocolate to produce Milk chocolate.

Yogurt, milk fermented by thermophilic bacteria, mainlyStreptococcus 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, clarified butter, by gentle heating of butter and removal of the solid matter Smen, a fermented, clarified butter used in Moroccan cooking Anhydrous milkfat (clarified butter)

Cheese, produced by coagulating milk, separating from whey and letting it ripen, generally with bacteria and sometimes also with certain molds


  • 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 can cause problems for individuals who have lactose intolerance or a milk allergy.[5][6] People who experience lactose intolerance usually prefer to avoid milk and other lactose-containing dairy products, as they may cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and nausea. Milk treated to be lactose free offers an alternative.

Excessive consumption of dairy products can contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet, which can increase the risk of heart disease, and cause other serious health problems.[7]

There is no excess cardiovascular risk with dietary calcium intake, but calcium supplements are associated with a higher risk of coronary artery calcification.[8]

Consumption of dairy products does not cause mucus production, and will not make cold or asthma symptoms worse.[9] This widely held belief stems from some people mistaking the thin coat of residue left behind after consuming milk or ice cream for mucus.[10]

Consumption patterns worldwide

Rates of dairy consumption vary widely worldwide. High-consumption countries consume more than 150 kg per capita per year. These countries are: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Costa Rica, most European counties, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, North America and Pakistan. Medium-consumption countries consume 30 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.[4][11]

Avoidance (non-health-related)

Some groups avoid dairy products for non-health-related reasons:

Religious – Some religions restrict or do not allow for 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.[12] 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 [20] .[13]

Vegans – 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.[14][15] 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.[16][17]

See also

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