No nutritional benefits of milk in light-proof bottles, Consumer NZ finds

Testing claims that light-proofed containers protect the vitamins in milk, Consumer NZ testing found little difference in nutrient content between major milk brands.

Fonterra-owned Anchor launched light-proof bottles four years ago, in response to research showing “light can cause damage to vitamin B2 and A”, the company said on its website.

Anchor stated:

“This isn’t good. Why? Well, because vitamin A is important in aiding healthy eyesight and immune system, whereas vitamin B2 helps your body turn food into fuel helping you feel less tired and run down.”

But Consumer NZ testing of five trim milk brands – Anchor, Home Brand, Meadow Fresh, Pams and Signature Range – shows miniscule differences in vitamin A and B2 content. Meadow Fresh sells its milk in “semi-opaque” bottles, the other three brands have transparent containers.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says the tiny differences between the brands had no significant impact on the overall vitamin intake of a person eating a balanced diet.

“When we asked Fonterra for evidence of the nutritional superiority of milk stored in a light-proof bottle, it agreed there wasn’t any. We think consumers reading the company’s claims about vitamin content might be misled into thinking Anchor milk in light-proof bottles has a dietary advantage over its competitors.”

Fonterra has now changed the description on the Anchor website to refer to the taste difference of milk in light-proof bottles instead of a nutritional benefit.

Consumer NZ tested varieties of trim milk as experiments referred to on Anchor’s website concluded lower-fat milk was the most susceptible to vitamin A degradation.

Full test results and more information is available at consumer.org.nz and in the August edition of Consumermagazine.

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