That was the key question at the recent launch of the research partnership between the Irish Organic Milk Producers and Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre Research (ABC) in the Limerick Institute of Technology.
The Irish Organic Milk Producers Ltd consists of 14 certified organic dairy farmers who have been involved in the organic sector for almost a quarter of a century. Pat Mulrooney Chairperson of the group stated that “as farmers using organic methods we have a thorough knowledge of the high quality of our product before it leaves the farm gate. However once our product leaves the farm gate we have no control over it. It is therefore important that as the primary producers we maintain control over our product by adding value to it. This research partnership will prove the benefits of organic milk and allow us to advertise and market our unique product to consumers”.
Trevor Sargent TD, also spoke at the launch and stressed how important the organic dairy sector had been in other European countries such as Austria in leading the way for the development of the organic sector as the high demand for dairy products convinced a lot of dairy farmers to convert to organic production. “We in government are committed to the development of the organic sector and my colleague Kieran Cuffe is looking forward to working in this area. In 2009 we invested €8.7million in the organic sector and we will continue to invest to ensure that the sector expands to reach its full potential”.
Dr. Daniel Walsh and Dr. Tracey Larkin from Shannon ABC explained in detail how the research project will examine samples of milk from the Irish Organic Milk Producers, from conventional milk farmers and also imported organic milk. The research will be conducted for a period of 12 weeks and will test antioxidants, antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activity in the milk. John Liston research officer for the Irish Organic Milk Producers expressed delight at the opportunity to work with Shannon ABC to highlight the benefits of local organic milk.
The Irish Organic Milk Producers expressed their thanks to the following people Sean McGloin NOTS, Pat Barry Organic Advisor Teagasc, Agnes Relihan Limerick County Enterprise Board, Claire Horgan Ballyhoura Leader and Grace Maher IOA for their support funding and advice since the company was started and also to Shannon ABC for their continual assistance with this project.
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For more information contact
Research officer Irish Organic Milk Producers Ltd
Development Officer IOFGA
Tel 087 6125989