Prepared Foods of April 4, 2005 enewsletter

A farm business in Ireland's County Mayo is the first in the world to produce a revolutionary probiotic butter for supermarket shelves.

The Cuinneog Butter brand contains a blend of friendly bacteria, which works like other probiotic products in helping the digestive and immune systems. The Butler family in Balla near Castlebar began making butter and buttermilk products under the "Sheila's of Mayo" brand in 1989.

However, they recently diversified into the Cuinneog Butter to capitalize on the emerging market of pro.biotic yogurts and drinks.

Tom and Sheila Butler named the product after the Irish word for "churn" - cuinneog -- and use stainless steel churns unlike the wooden ones of olden times.

Tom said, "Ireland has a long tradition in the art of butter-making, since the Celts first introduced the skill in 200-150 BC. We started it 16 years ago because we had a small farm and wanted some extra income. Consumers will get an authentic and traditional flavor from the butter, as well as all the health benefits."

Hundreds of liters of pasteurized cream are delivered to the Butler family farm each week by Connacht Gold Co-op.

The cream that makes the butter goes through a four-day manufacturing process of heating, souring, cooling and churning -- before being packaged.