Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Holy Cow, A Low-Fat Milk-Making Bovine?!

Russell Snell found a mutated cow that makes low-fat milk naturally

Beam me up, Scotty, because I think this world has gone absolutely institutionalized on me now after reading this MSNBC story about a cow that has been found to make (get this!) low-fat milk. Sounds totally sci-fi freaky, doesn't it? Sadly, it's dead serious and coming to a milk carton near you!

It was one thing to create genetically-altered potatoes to make them lower in carbohydrates a couple of years back. But what they're doing to cows just to artificially lower the fat content of their milk takes weird science to a whole new level!

We have the New Zealand-based biotechnology company ViaLactia to thank for stumbling across almost by accident a cow they named Marge in 2001 which has a gene mutation allowing it to produce milk with 1% milk naturally rather than the 3.5% milk that traditional cows make for whole milk. This new low-fat milk produced by this one-of-a-kind cow supposedly has more omega-3 fats and the butter created from it is spreadable even when it's cold.

Ooooooh! Am I supposed to be jumping up and down? NOT!

Russell Snell, chief scientist at Vialactia which happens to be a major subsidiary of milk-producing giant Fonterra, said they paid a mere $218 for Marge to conduct research on why the Fresian cow makes low-fat milk. It looks just like a regular cow and the milk has the same "positive taste" of normal milk except it contains "other desirable benefits."

Interestingly, Snell said they decided to breed Marge to see if her calves would also make low-fat milk--they all have the same "dominant" mutated gene that produces low-fat milk as the mother. But they just don't know exactly why this is happening.

"Every now and then nature throws up these sorts of things, and it was simply a case of us being in the right place at the right time," Snell noted.

The results of Snell's research will appear in an upcoming issue of the UK-based scientific journal Chemistry & Industry.

Vialactia hopes to have this all-natural low-fat milk and softened butter available for retail sale on grocery store shelves within the next four years. But is this REALLY something we should all be clamoring for? Is low-fat dairy, created naturally or by machine, something that should be part of a "healthy" lifestyle? I think not based on the scientific evidence.

Although it is extremely high in carbs, most people get all super-sensitive upset over the fat content in their milk being the least healthy part of that beverage. Yet we've seen this study on how low-fat dairy leads to infertility as well as this study on milk's role in kidney cancer.

That's why you should find low-carb milk alternatives like Calorie Countdown if you are livin' la vida low-carb. So what's next? Gene mutation of sugar to negate the carbohydrates? Don't laugh, I bet they're working on it!

Also, I can't but wonder what this new all-natural low-fat milk is gonna cost--if you think gasoline is expensive, just wait'll you see what they'll charge for this stuff! I think I'll skip past the mutated milk and butter thank you very much!

You can e-mail your comments to Russell Snell at

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Blogger Sparky's Girl said...

Personally, I'm not impressed. People groan and complain about eating things that aren't natural, then they go messing with animals genes, which isn't natural.. no matter how they word it.

5/30/2007 7:47 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Why do you think Nature every now and then does throw up these sorts of things, mr. Snell, and not on a continuous basis? Because it is UNNATURAL!

Besides, low-fat milk is nutritionally utterly worthless. What a spectacular improvement, that we are now able to force Nature itself to produce useless products! Quite some achievement!

As far as I am concerned, he can take the "other desirable benefits" of his Frankenstein-milk and subsequently store it in a place where the sun doesn't shine.

5/31/2007 3:11 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Make that UDDERly worthless, Science! LOL!

5/31/2007 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with all of you--this just doesn't feel right to me. Even at best, let's just say this low-fat milk was problem free, the lack of fat within is still going to cause a slightly higher spike in blood sugar than would say, pure whole milk or cream, right?

5/31/2007 9:29 AM  
Blogger PLC said...

The whole idea of purposefully breeding a herd of "low fat milk" producing cows is ludicrous! As a dairy farmer (albeit goat dairy) I'd want nothing to do with this animal, or any one like her. Unless the processor could get 2 or 3 times the amount of money per pound for the milk (and remember, in the US milk has to have price supports anyway) these animals would be a liability to the average farm.
My most recent post at The Permanent Low Carber explains my thinking on this in a little more depth.
Thanks, Jimmy, for bringing this up. I'll be watching Marge and ViaLacta's herd of mutant cows!


5/31/2007 4:13 PM  

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