US firm thirsts for cattle blood

The blood from the 2.4 million bulls and cows slaughtered in New Zealand each year is being eyed by an American company for medical and dietary use.

Iowa-based Proliant says it wants to take "every last drop" of cattle blood produced by New Zealand's biggest meat company, Silver Fern Farms, and then move on to the cattle slaughtered by other companies.

Proliant chief executive Steve Welch said a deal with Silver Fern Farms would initially add $6 million a year to the value of blood that currently had little worth.

This sum could increase to $20m over time.

It also intended to build its own $20m-$25m processing plant at a site yet to be determined.

Highly educated staff would be needed and wages would amount to about $1.5m.

Cattle blood plasma produces bovine serum albumin which is used in pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and diagnostic and medical research. Immunoglobulins are also produced for dietary supplements for gut inflammation conditions.

Under the deal with Silver Fern Farms, Proliant would collect blood plasma from two sites - Te Aroha and Finegand, South Otago - at first and then expand to cover all the company's nine beef plants.

The Dominion Post