Mr. A. K Srivastav, Director of National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) at GLOBAL FOOD SUMMIT 2018 mentioned that
“Our all the desi breed of cows gives A2 milk and the cross-breed cows gives A1 milk, big brands say that A1 milk is not good for health, but we have researched that A1 milk is the same as A2 milk and there is no harm in the A1 milk and it is safe as A2 milk”.
Indian native breeds of cows and buffaloes are of A2 milk type and hence are a source for safe milk. The A1/A2 status of cattle is determined by the two alleles for the beta-casein gene i.e. A1 and A2 and cattle may be homozygous for one type of protein (A1A1 or A2A2), or heterozygous (A1A2). A1A1 cattle would produce only A1 milk, A2A2 would produce only A2 milk and A1A2 cattle would produce milk with both A1 and A2 beta – caseins.
Inthe recent past, several dairy units (local units and some organized players) in India have started offering A2 milk at a premium to consumers.
- Considering the lack of conclusive scientific evidence for A1/BCM-7 ill-effects on human health, and the predominance of A2 milk in Indian cattle, there is no need for consumers to switch to milk branded as A2
- The recent emergence of several A2 milk players in India is an indication of consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for perceived better quality and safer milk.
Milk contains two major groups of proteins — caseins and whey proteins. A2 milk contains the A2 type of beta-casein protein whereas A1 milk contains an A1 type of beta-casein. A1 protein is a natural mutation of A2 which occurred over 1,000 years ago and on its digestion, A1 protein produces beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7)
- There have been reports implicating A1 protein/BCM-7 in negative health effects like Ischaemic heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, autism, inflammatory response, and digestive discomfort, etc, but the scientific community believes the evidence is insufficient and inconclusive.
- Despite the lack of conclusive scientific evidence from human studies, several players have started marketing A2 milk with claims that it is natural, better, and free from negative effects.
- The big brands of milk are marketing their brands as A2 milk and in return earning huge amounts of money with the help of myth created by themselves.
- Due to a lack of knowledge about the milk, the consumer is paying a huge amount of money on milk which is marketed by the milk brands.
- Lactose is present in both A1 milk and A2 milk and consumers should be aware that shifting to A2 milk will not help them address lactose intolerance.
Moreover, symptoms of digestive discomfort are also associated with lactose intolerance, wherein an individual is not able to digest lactose due to a deficiency in the lactase enzyme. Lactose intolerance, which is associated with milk sugar lactose is different from an allergy to a milk protein, though some of the symptoms may be the same.