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Iceland - University of Iceland

Colourful Icelandic cattle
The Icelandic cattle breed stems from native Norwegian cattle which were moved to Iceland from Norway with the first settlers over 1000 years ago. The special characters of the breed are that outside influence on the stock has been minimal since the early settlement. The diversity of coat colours found in the breed is unique compared to most other breeds. All milk produced in Iceland is from the native cattle breed.

The near future
Our first priority in the new cooperation is the characterization of the Icelandic consumers’ milk with regard to the nutrient composition, such as fatty acid composition, protein and potential composition and carbohydrate profile and other properties. Knowledge is scarce about the current composition, especially on the more subtile components but studies indicate that the composition of the cow milk consumed might affect public health. Knowledge on the composition is therefore vital. We will collect milk from different parts of the country for comparison and at different time points throughout the year. Furthermore, we intend to analyse different dairy products both with regard to composition and technical qualities. Comparison with milk and dairy products from the other Nordic countries will be of interest.

The information provided will be used as basis for further studies on milk intake and health as well as basis for developing new milk products from Icelandic milk.

Protecting the Icelandic cattle breed is an important component in maintaining and preserving the biodiversity of the Nordic livestock.