Whenever you think of members of Congress taking exotic junkets to some tropical resort or luxury hotel, think upon this. Work has already begun on the 2012 Farm Bill. And members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee went to Lubbock, TX last month to attend the seventh in a series of field hearings on the Texas Tech University campus. That's not glamorous, not sexy, and not calculated to get their names on cable news.
A story by Jerry Lackey covering the hearings for the San Angelo, TX Standard-Times featured Brad Bouma, a fifth-generation dairy farmer from Plainview in the Texas Panhandle. Bouma has another distinction. He "also serves as president of Select Milk Producers Inc., a marketing cooperative owned by dairy farmers who have dairies in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas."
And what milk does Select Milk make? Bouma said:
"Through patented technology, Select has developed the means to create 'designer milks.' High quality milk fresh from the farm goes through several filtration processes separating the fat from the protein, from the sugars, from the calcium and other solids from the water. These then are recombined in different ratios to provide a different profile of milk."
The lactose, is also removed, converted to two simple sugars, glucose and galactose.
"For six years, H-E-B has been marketing one such milk in Texas," Bouma said. "This milk is produced by Select Milk and bottled by H-E-B at its plants in Texas. This designer milk, called 'Mootopia,' has more protein and more calcium (all fresh from cow’s milk) but with fewer carbohydrates. This lactose-free milk still tastes the same sweetness as regular milk."
I don't understand this, since glucose and galactose are still carbohydrates and are sweeter than regular milk, but Lackey may have left a step out of the process.
But the answer is surely at the Select Milk website, right?
Wrong. If you drill in several levels, you come to a .pdf labeled designer milk for women.
It's not immediately obvious that this is the same milk as MooTopia, but it sure seems close. A story on the DairyFoods.com website by David Phillips lists the attributes of MooTopia:
In 2005, H.E. Butt Grocery Co. (H-E-B), based here on the Texas Gulf Coast introduced MooTopia, milk that features 60% less sugar, 35% more calcium, 75% more protein and 4g carbohydrates, per serving.
MooTopia is also lactose free, and it is substantially creamier and more flavorful than traditional milk, according to H-E-B. The company says taste tests show that MooTopia skim milk is creamier than traditional 2% milk, while MooTopia 2% is creamier than traditional whole milk.
H-E-B, along with partner Select Milk Producers Inc., Artesia, N.M., patented the process.
Designer milk for Women claims 175% More Protein; 60% Less Sugar; 160% More Calcium; and 100% Lactose Free. What happens when you match them up? Claims are made for the same nutrients. Both have 60% less sugar. MooTopia has 75% more protein which would be the same if what Designer Milk meant was that its protein is 175% of the protein in standard milk. The calcium percentages are harder to reconcile. 35% more is not quite the same as saying 160% of the original calcium. 4g of carbohydrate may be 100 lactose free, however. Otherwise, why two separate lactose-free designer milks? That's not as big a question as asking why MooTopia never appears by name at the Select Milk website, though. That one baffles me. MooTopia goes back five or six years. You should be able to find out more about it much more easily. People still write about it. Dairy Business News had a major article on it and another designer milk, Athlete's Honey Milk, made by the same people, as recently as January 2010.
Where is it marketed? Who buys it? What does it taste like? All seems steeped in mystery.
And that's not the only Mootopia mystery. More next time.