Goat milk secretion

Milk is made up of protein, fat, carbohydrate, water, minerals and vitamins. These components are packaged inside cells within the mammary gland and are released from the cells by two different pathways of secretion.1

  • Merocrine secretion
    proteins, lactose, minerals and water are released without disruption of the cell.
  • Apocrine secretion
    milk fat is enveloped by the cell membrane before being pinched off from the cell. In this process some of the cell components are also released into milk.

Milk proteins consist of whey and casein proteins. There are 4 casein proteins – αs1-, αs2-, β- and κ-casein. Low levels of αs1-casein cause the proteins, lactose, minerals and water in milk to be secreted by the apocrine pathway.2In New Zealand goat milk αs1-casein makes up only 5-10% of the total protein. Similarly, around 5% of the total protein of human is αs1-casein.3

As a result much of the proteins, lactose and water in both goat and human milk are secreted by the apocrine pathway. In cow milk, however, around 25% of the total protein is αs1-casein.4 Therefore, proteins, lactose and water in cow milk are only secreted by the merocrine pathway.

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Dairy Goat Co-Operative Trust

The Dairy Goat Co-operative’s 72 shareholders farm in some of New Zealand’s premium farming regions – Northland, Waikato and Taranaki. Their ability to do what they do, is enabled by the strength and resilience of the communities which they support, and which support them.

Allergy

There is a common belief that goat milk is a sound alternative for infants or children with cow milk protein allergy. This has resulted in the promotion of goat milk and goat milk products for relief of allergy. However, scientific studies show that goat milk is not always an effective substitute for cow milk in children who are already sensitised to cow milk protein and have a rapid onset, IgE-mediated reaction to cow milk proteins. Only extensively hydrolysed formulas should be used for the dietary management of infants with diagnosed cow milk protein allergy.1

There are several lines of evidence that the strength and type of the immune response to goat and cow milk might still differ. For example, children allergic to cow milk required nearly five times more goat milk to trigger an adverse reaction.2 In another study, 25% of children allergic to cow milk did not react to goat milk at all.3 Children with allergy to cow milk proteins had a lower response to goat milk containing low amounts of αs1-casein.4 Similarly, studies with animals have also shown that lower levels of αs1-casein in goat milk resulted in fewer allergic reactions.5

Further research will help to understand how people might respond differently to goat or cow milk. Until such studies have been completed, it is important that goat milk infant formula is not promoted as a remedy for infants with severe reactions to cow milk.

1 AAP 2000; Koletzko et al, 2012
2 Bellioni-Businco et al 1999
3 Infante et al 2003
4 Ballabio et al, 2011; Albenzio et al 2012; Lisson et al 2014
5 Bevilacqua et al 2001; Hodgkinson et al 2012

Milk collection & delivery to factory

DGC has end to end production facilities on its site in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Milk is collected from our farms and delivered directly to the production facility. We take great care for our milk, ensuring a consistently lower temperature at all times by insulating our milk trucks. This helps maintain the nutritional integrity of our Goat Milk at all times during transit.
When the whole goat milk is delivered to the site it is checked again for quality before it is processed.

The milk that enters the DGC facility leaves as goat milk formula, in the can that is then sold to our partners’ customers. To ensure the safest possible production system, every element of the production is managed within our single site.

Purpose built manufacturing

The DGC plant is purpose-built solely to be a world class facility for manufacturing goat milk formula. Combined with our cooperative farm model, we are able to control the entire process from milking to distribution. So milk that comes into the plant leaves as a completed product.

The result is a safer, cleaner manufacturing process with no third parties in the production process.