Infant growth and development

DGC has conducted two double blinded randomised control trials of goat formula1 and one prospective co-hort study2 in new born infants. The key outcomes from these trials were:

  • The growth, general health, formula tolerance and nutritional outcomes were comparable to breast fed infants3
  • Blood levels of folate, ferritin and haemoglobin were within the normal range4
  • There were less amino acids in plasma and 11% lower urea in blood, consistent with fewer excess amino acids in goat whole milk formula compared to a whey based cow milk formula5
  • These clinical trials confirm that a formula made from goat milk, without the addition of whey and with goat milk fat, supplies all the essential nutrients needed for growth and development of infants less than 12 months of age.
{section.alt}

Find out more

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.

An infant goat milk formula made without palm oil

The fat content of formula must be modified to include several essential fatty acids. Many formulas are based on skim milk where the milk fat is replaced by vegetable oils, including palm oil.1

DGC has adopted an alternative approach, using whole goat milk to retain milk fat. Vegetable oils are still added to top up the essential unsaturated fatty acids in goat milk, but it is not necessary to use palm oil if milk fat is included in the formula.

Our research has also shown that there is also no need to use highly modified ingredients such as OPO.2

1 Delplanque et al, 2015
2 Prosser et al, 2010

Animal Welfare and Health

New Zealand has a strict Code of Welfare for Goats. It specifies what is considered to be optimal animal welfare and how this may be achieved for goats farmed under New Zealand conditions. DGC farms are required to follow the New Zealand Code of Welfare for Goats as well as DGC’s own Code of Farm Practice.

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