Dairy products or milk products are simple or processed milk or food obtained from milk. Among the type of milk used, the principal is by far the cow milk (usually called “milk” without further clarification), but the milk of goat, sheep, camel, yak, buffalo milk is also used.
Consumption of dairy products has grown considerably worldwide since the early 1950s, and continues to expand, including China, where traditionally these products were not present.
Industrial dairy sector show a great capacity for innovation to increase the consumption of dairy products and therefore sales, as evidenced by the example of the functional food based on milk and sold in supermarkets since the early 2000s, but also using the full capabilities of marketing.
Dairy products are mainly used in the food, either directly or as an ingredient in baking, biscuits, sausage, and cheese production, but also as animal feed (powdered milk for calves, whey for pigs). Dairy products are generally perishable and so that the products be edible, the cold chain must be maintained from producer to consumer. These products are generally perceived as good for health.
Casein extracted from milk, also has non-food uses such as the manufacture of plastics, paper, textiles, etc.
Dairy products have been known for millennia, probably since Neolithic times, when humans were still nomads. The domestication of species that can produce milk is attested since 8,700 years B.C. and it seems that the men of that time have used these animals for milk production, as evidenced by decorated containers. However, they did not know any techniques of processing milk into dairy products such as butter or cheese. Some historians suggest that the first diary products, known today as curd, junket, cottage, leben, raib, kombucha, kefir may date back to the seventh millennium BC. At that time, they could only be found in the stomachs of slaughtered animals. The first known molds or forms for curd dates from the third millennium BC. The Sumerian bas-reliefs dating from the thirty-fifth century BC, represent the milking cows and curdling.
The oldest archaeological traces of cheese manufacturing date from the time of ancient Egypt.
They were discovered on wall paintings in tombs dating from 2000 BC. The first cheeses were evidently sour and salty, similar in texture to cottage cheese or feta.
Students, writing their research proposal on the subject, must also indicate that since the first millennium BC in Europe, in both ancient Rome and Greece, cheese from goat or sheep milk has become daily food. More or less dry, it was eaten with honey. The Greeks even exported it to Gaul. Butter was known, but little used among the Greeks. The oldest writings relating to yoghurt are attributed to Pliny the Elder, it reports that some “barbarians” tribes knew “thicken the milk into a material with a pleasant acidity.”
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