Elevated trans fats in dairy supply may be linked to health risk

New Zealand Herald’s Chris Barton investigates new evidence of palm kernel-derived trans fats in New Zealand dairy products and their suggested link to polyvascular disease and stroke in at-risk patients.

An excerpt:

“It’s long been known that naturally occurring trans fats are present in the milk and the meat of ruminant animals such as sheep and cows, the most common being vaccenic acid.

What most probably don’t know is that grazing cows produce more of it than grain-fed cows. So it wasn’t terribly surprising that vaccenic trans fat showed up in the lipid analysis of the patients’ blood, along with other trans fats found in processed foods.

But the presence of the palmitelaidic trans fat hadn’t been seen before.

“I wondered how it was getting into our cows.” It was only when [Dr Jocelyne] Benatar noticed a news item on Greenpeace concerns about the amount of palm kernel animal feed imported into New Zealand that she made the connection. The use of palm kernel expeller – the leftovers from when kernel oil is pressed out from the nut in the palm fruit – to supplement dairy cows’ largely grass diet is increasing in New Zealand.”

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