MicroGard fermentates are used in a wide range of dairy products in the US from drinks to cottage cheese as a tool to keep spoilage organisms at bay.
To guarantee that the fermentates are free from growth hormones, Danisco has pledged that all the cultured skim milk used to make them is from cows that have not received recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST).
Matthew Hundt, global product manager at Danisco, told DairyReporter.com that consumer rather regulatory pressure persuaded the ingredients supplier to make MicroGard free from rBST.
Hundt said Danisco started receiving requests from its customers for rBST-free products around two years ago and since then some larger customers have demanded its removal from the supply chain.
In response to this customer pressure, Danisco started work on creating rBST-free fermentates at the beginning of 2009.
Hundt said the change has had no impact on product performance or product cost but it did demand work with suppliers to ensure that all the milk coming had not been treated with rBST.
Making that change and making sure that all the proper documentation and certification was in place has taken about a year but now Danisco can assure its customers that MicroGard is entirely rBST-free.
Customer demand for the removal of rBST may be strong but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled that that there is no significant difference between milk from cows treated with rBST and milk that is not.
The regulatory all-clear has done little to dispel the consumer perception that rBST should be banished from the supply chain.
A survey conducted in 2008 by Consumer Reports indicated that some 57 per cent of Americans were willing to pay more for milk and milk products produced without artificial growth hormones.
Hundt said consumers are becoming more aware of product content and the desire for rBST-free dairy products is part of a broader trend for more natural, cleaner label food.