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Research Puts Seal Of Approval On Goat Milk

Research Puts Scientific Seal Of Approval On Goat Milk

Goat milk has been recognised for centuries for its nutritional value, but research into its nutraceutical properties is providing strong scientific evidence for its beneficial use in humans.

Hamilton-based Dairy Goat Co-operative (NZ) Ltd (DGC) is entering the final stages of a 21 month research project with AgResearch’s Food Science Group, and according to DGC Development Manager, Dianne Lowry, the results are everything they’d hoped for.

“To date the success of goat milk, which is used in both Western and Chinese medicine, has been based largely on anecdotal evidence. There has been very little research done specifically to investigate the nutriceutical properties of goat’s milk. Our research confirmed the anecdotal evidence that goat milk products are helpful to people with certain types of impaired gastro-intestinal function,” says Ms Lowry.

The research was partly funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology through its Technology New Zealand scheme, which contributed $242,000 to the research project. The results to date will be presented by the scientists involved, at the BioActive Summit being held in Hamilton July 25/26.

According to Dianne Lowry, the Technology New Zealand funding enabled DGC to do more extensive research, far more quickly. She says the findings will play a significant part in developing a robust technological platform for future product development and company growth.

The farmer-owned co-operative produces, processes, packages and exports goat milk nutritional products. DGC pioneered the development of the world’s first goat milk-based infant formula and now produces a complete range of nutritional products for infants and children. It also developed the world’s first UHT goat milk, currently marketed in New Zealand and Australia.

The just-completed research focussed on a small selection of bioactive constituents and properties, which Ms Lowry says were believed to be present in goat milk, and to play a role in the anecdotal reports of the value of the milk in healing and preventing gut damage.

“We now know from animal studies that the consumption of New Zealand goat milk significantly reduces the adverse effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories on the inflammation and leakiness of the small intestine.The results clearly demonstrate the positive benefits on gut health and function that can result from consumption of goat milk,” she says.

According to Ms Lowry, the company is poised to take advantage of the growing world-wide interest in health prevention and maintenance and New Zealand’s agricultural reputation is a positive benefit.

“Nutraceuticals based on natural New Zealand products with scientifically proven benefits have a bright future and the potential to earn significant export dollars for New Zealand,” she says. DGC currently exports to South East Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and South America and has identified additional markets for expansion.

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Backgrounder Technology New Zealand is a set of government-funded business support schemes which provide funding to support R&D projects in business.

Around $35 million is available each year to help companies develop new products or processes, build human capital within businesses and provide access to information and expertise.

Technology New Zealand is part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

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