Federated Farmers applauds the research team at AgResearch for a global breakthrough on hypoallergenic milk, which could add value to new milk based exports, so long as it clears regulatory and safety approvals.
"This could be a major technological advance. Five to seven of the 252 children born every minute have milk allergies or intolerance," says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.
"I was one of those children but thankfully, like most children, I grew out of it. Nevertheless hypoallergenic milk would have made a big difference to me as a wee fellow.
"That is why it is a huge opportunity if we have the wherewithal to grab it.
"AgResearch’s development has been received positively in the international media as a technological breakthrough.
"We shouldn’t run too far ahead of ourselves however. It is very early days and products, if they prove possible, will take years before you’ll see them on a doctor’s prescription or a supermarket shelf.
"Before it can be considered for commercialisation, hypoallergenic milk will require a lot more study and regulatory approval to ensure it is not only safe, but works.
"We also need to consider how it will sit alongside current milk production.
"Bearing in mind we are looking years into the future, I believe a product like this could be produced and processed separate from other milk. We actually do this now with organic milk in order to maintain its integrity.
"So assuming this does become possible, keeping things separate from conventional and organic milk and backed by clear labelling, provides choice for farmer and consumer alike.
"I believe should be looking to realise the value of this intellectual property for New Zealand and that means keeping this technology here.
"If we can meet these challenges, we should be willing to embrace new technology where there is benefit medically and economically.
"This breakthrough marries agriculture to biotechnology in a smart science led green economy. There is a lot of work to be done and hurdles to be jumped but the scientists involved deserve recognition as world-beaters," Mr Leferink concluded.
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