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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Reindeer Milk and Cookies for Santa?

Hold Rudolph down, elves, she's kicking and we need the milk!

Reindeer milk? Yes, kiddies, it's that time of year when the press has run out of Christmas themes to mine and starts digging deep into the drawer of desperation for ideas.

Sure, reindeer milk is comparatively low-lactose, as you can see at my website on the Lactose Zoo page. But only a Finn who grows up in the midst of them would bother. They rank just above a pig in difficulty of milkability.

Anyway, is this year's winner of the Farthest Reach Award, given to a news site that has gone the longest and silliest way to shoehorn in a theme, for its article by Stephen Daniells, "Reindeer milk - not on Santa's list this year."

Among the highlights:

It is hard to imagine large scale milking of these animals, not only since the process is labour intensive but also because the output is poor. According to the FAO, reindeer milk yields are extremely low. Couple this to the fact that it apparently takes two people to milk the beasts - one to do the milking and the other to hold the horns it is no wonder that the milk has never gone mainstream.


The milk does have a distinctive nutritional profile, with a fat content of 22 per cent, a whopping six times as much as cow's milk. Donkey milk contains less than one per cent fat.

Additionally, reindeer milk is poor in lactose, containing only about 2.4 per cent - equivalent to about a one-third the lactose content of human milk (7 per cent) and half that of cow's milk (4-5 per cent), according to Fundamentals of Dairy Chemistry (B. Webb, A. Johnson, AVI Publishing, 1965).

On Donner, Blitzen, and Elsie!

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