Health-Conscious Consumers May Enjoy Cholesterol-Free Egg Yolks

Cholesterol-free egg yolks may be as common as decaffeinated coffee within the next few years if research under way at the University of Wisconsin pans out as anticipated.

"We now can take 90% to 95% of the cholesterol out of beef tallow and milk fat," Robert L. Bradley, a UW professor of food science said in an interview before sharing his findings with members of the American Farm Bureau Federation meeting here earlier this month.

Bradley's team is working on adapting that cholesterol-removal technology to egg yolks. The work is part of an unusual joint venture with Phasex Corp. of Lawrence, Mass.

"They have the extraction technology, and we have the analytical skills and know-how," Bradley said.

The technology uses liquefied carbon dioxide to pull out cholesterol, a technique called super-critical extraction and similar to one commercial process, developed in West Germany, used to extract caffeine from coffee, he explained. The extracted cholesterol--as a substitute for more expensive ingredients in skin creams--could prove to be "more valuable than the parent product," he added.

For consumers who avoid cholesterol-rich foods, the first encounter with refined eggs will likely come in a "scrambled-egg product" and such fabricated foods as cake mixes, Bradley said.

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