South Gippsland Dairy | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2020
The initial secretion produced by mammals post-birth, colostrum is highly nutritious and rich in the antibody proteins essential to fighting infection. Thought to boost immunity, improve gut health and accelerate healing, bovine colostrum has proven to be a viable option for milk producers seeking alternative ways of delivering value to consumers direct from the farm.
An entirely natural substance, it is extremely heat sensitive and prone to mistreatment during collection and processing. Unlike some dairy products, collection mishandling cannot be corrected in a factory. Its limited availability — three litres per animal, per year — increases the imperative to use suitable collection and processing methods.
South Gippsland Dairy uses hand-collected colostrum from cows raised on grass pastures year-round. The colostrum is harvested from a small number of family-owned farms, delivering benefit to local growers and ensuring that the high levels of antibodies and growth factors contained in the products occur naturally.
Raw colostrum is collected and tested according to a HACCP process registered with Dairy Food Recipient of FIAL Innovation Funding Safety Victoria. Farmers depend on healthy calves for their future, so they adhere to the Dairy Australia Colostrum Collection guidelines and take only product that is in excess to requirement of healthy calves.
SGD ensures high bioactivity levels through application of gentle processing methods and conducting no alterations, artificial unbalancing or antibody level processing in-factory. Developed in a research and pilot plant, the team proved the process before commencing commercial production, building the plant around the product. Freeze dried at low temperatures, Bio Colostrum has been independently tested by the CSIRO and shown to have greater levels of bioactivity of Immunoglobulins (IgG) when compared with other brands.
Being the only colostrum manufacturer in Australia, SGD needed to develop its own unique farm colostrum harvesting practices to not only ensure the health of the animals but also to validate the quality and safety of the product for human consumption. The company's relationship with FIAL and the support offered has been integral to success.