Kerrygold: Surprising Info

Hey everyone, like many of you, I've been guzzling the Kerrygold lately. I looked into it and was a bit surprised at what I found.



According to Kerrygold's faq, their butter is not necessarily organic, GMO-free, or 100% grass-fed. Their animals are given "feed" during the winter months, which is neither organic or non-GMO certified.



Does producing the butter during the summer months, when they are pastured, make any difference? Who knows. But there is at least some possibility that an animal was eating GMO soy a couple weeks before your butter was produced.



I don't want to knock the stuff or make an issue out of nothing. Kerrygold is very easy to find and still far better than most dairy out there, so I'll keep eating it.



Just thought you all might want to know.
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Comments

  • Definitely question it. However, unless you know a farmer raising the animals under these conditions themselves, Kerrygold is the closest most people will find.
    Life is one giant experiment.
  • BrianHKerrBrianHKerr Quantified Biohacker
    I will mention, I have seen kerrygold with different wrappers... and the one safeway carries, tastes much different than the one in a different wrapper which you would find at whole foods... both were labeled identially, both were unsalted.... just fyi... so there are some issues... if you are really a stickler about your butter, go to a farmer...
  • You may be reading into it more than what's stated. They could be fed hay in the winter which would still be somethign the cows would normally eat. I wouldn't imagine they would spend most of the time and trouble feeding them grass, which is expensive, only to screw it up by feeding them grain and soy at the end or some other times. .
  • 'Mark' wrote:


    You may be reading into it more than what's stated. They could be fed hay in the winter ...




    Well, directly from the Kerrygold FAQ: "Whilst cows predominately are fed on pasture, they will be fed on feed supplements during the winter months and there are no GMO free guarantees on the feed used."



    A quick search on typical cattle feeds shows they are almost invariably corn, wheat, and/or soy.



    Either way, I'm not trying to diminish the value of what Kerrygold is doing; I'm sure their animals are more grass-fed than not. Far healthier than any other butter I can regularly get, and I continue eating it daily.
  • I just bought a pound of Organic Valley Limited Edition May-Septembere Pasture Butter. I can always stock pile some in the freezer.
  • I don't think Kerrygold cattle is typical cattle, but maybe we can email them and find out what exactly they feed on in the offseason.
  • I personally wouldn't worry about it too much.



    I would guess that most areas of the world experience a portion of the year where the grass is not plentiful for the cows so they must feed them some type of feed.



    However, if you are worried, then (like Patricia said) you probably want to find some good Grass Fed Butter and freeze a bunch before the winter so you have a nice stock. Try to find a local farm that makes it. Check out some CSA's, get to know the farmers in your area, visit some CoOps and try to find an awesome butter made locally. I found one that is AWESOME and tastes way better (in my opinion) than Kerry Gold. Nothing against Kerrygold, I love their butter too but I think if you can find some good stuff locally, that's the way to go.
  • I'm not too worried about it myself



    BUT I will try switching to ghee because I've been feeling acidic and want to test if the butter is the culprit (didn't do well with whey concentrate so I know dairy doesn't fully agree with me.)



    Anyway, a company called Pure Indian makes 100% grass fed ghee and even offers spiced/flavored ghee (which sounds awesome for BP coffee). Looks like great stuff but it's at least 4 times the cost of Kerrygold. I'll let you guys know if/when I decide to give that a shot.
  • Possibly unrelated - my health food store's Kerrygold unsalted butter had a change of wrapper a few months ago. It now has "mlk from grass-fed cows" on it. I imagine the original poster's quoted language from the FAQ remains true.
  • A little follow up, if anyone's interested.



    Talking with local farmers, truly 100% grass fed dairy seems exceedingly difficult to produce. Unless they're in perfect year-round climate, the animals simply must be kept indoors during winter months. Grass just isn't growing then, and most farmers give them feed during winter, or hay is another (healthier?) option.



    Makers of grass-fed butter tend to produce their stuff from spring through fall, which is what Kerrygold does. So, in terms of easily accessible, grass-fed butter, Kerrygold is indeed your best bet.



    ___________________________



    On a somewhat off-topic note, and just in case anyone else can benefit from this, I did switch to ghee instead of Kerrygold. Not because of grass-fed concerns, but because of lactose intolerance. I just wasn't digesting butter well and was experiencing nasty acid reflux. As soon as I switched to ghee, which has no lactose or casein, I felt much better.



    'Purity Farms' ghee is relatively cheap and easy to find. Tastes good and, for anyone who can't digest butter, is a decent replacement for Kerrygold. I also tried ghee from 'Pure Indian Foods', which is harder to find and far more expensive, but seems a much higher quality product. If you want more info, just google "ghee comparison chart"; Pure Indian is second on that list, but preferable imo (because it's more grass fed).
  • 'Armored wrote:


    Well, directly from the Kerrygold FAQ: "Whilst cows predominately are fed on pasture, they will be fed on feed supplements during the winter months and there are no GMO free guarantees on the feed used."



    A quick search on typical cattle feeds shows they are almost invariably corn, wheat, and/or soy.



    Either way, I'm not trying to diminish the value of what Kerrygold is doing; I'm sure their animals are more grass-fed than not. Far healthier than any other butter I can regularly get, and I continue eating it daily.




    Kerry Gold Butter is produced in Ireland. While these are typical feed supliments in the US, probobly not with Kerry Golds cows. Grass doesn't grow the same all year long and they have to be fed something when the grass isn't growing. Since Kerry Gold doesn't use antibiotics, they won't be feeding thier cows grain which is the primary driver for antibiotics. This is all speculation on my part, but I would be suprised if Kerry Gold was feeding thier cows grain.
  • Ah, that makes sense, BillSchuler. Grain-diets are one of the primary drivers for antibiotic use in cows.
  • Good point Bill. I'd also think that dairy animals are probably raised better, in general, in Europe than in the U.S.
  • Check out realmilk.com. That's how I located my grass fed raw milk and butter!
  • Owning a few cows and living across the street from an organic dairy, here is how it works.



    Pastured dairy - depending on the quality of the pasture (grasses) may require a lot of land. A pastured cow around here in Central New York, where there is plenty of rain, needs a lot less land than if you are pasturing a cow in Texas.



    If the pasture eventually stops growing because of winter, pastured cows can be fed hay, which is dried grass, silage (fermented grass). Depending on the farmer, the cows may also be fed some chopped corn, the whole plant, and/or soy.



    Organic Dairy - these cows must have access to pasture, but because they spend a lot of the day of the being fed and milked, they often stay indoors in large barns. These confined animals are fed a mixture of organic silage, hay, corn, soy. Depending on the sophistication of the operation, the mix can be custom blended by computer for each cow using a radio ear tag kind of like EZ Pass.



    The nutrition of the milk is directly related to what the cow eats. The more young green grass the better.



    The next confounding factor is the breed of the cow. Different breeds produce various quality of milk. Holstein milk is particularly watery. We have a few American Milking Devons which produce a rich creamy milk which is closer to half and half. Yummy.
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