The plant has extracted lactoferrin from cheese whey since 1997, one of only a handful of facilities worldwide to do so. Demand for the bioactive milk protein got a boost last fall when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of lactoferrin as an antimicrobial treatment in meat processing.
Lactoferrin promotes intestinal health and immune-system enhancement and is used widely in the natural food products segment. Bodybuilders and baby-formula makers are incorporating it into the daily diet, either as a dietary supplement or in formulated foods. It can also be consumed directly. Glanbia has tapped into the nutraceutical sector with its Bioferrin branded lactoferrin.
The $2.5 million lactoferrin project is targeted for completion in July. The Gooding facility also is involved in milk calcium production and whey protein concentrate drying.