The battle between A1 & A2 - The Controversial Milk!
As I am writing this blog, I am unnerved by the magnitude of the topic given to me.
I never knew we had two varieties of milk and I am sure, neither did you!
Gap between dare and say that it was probably our misunderstanding or shall I say, we assumed that what we get from No brands to be named… we can say… "What we got from the market was agreed as "MILK" "
It was when I was researching for this “topic” that I chanced upon the concept of A1 & A2 milk. Not only was it an eye opener, but was indeed overwhelming!
What the heck, we have been drinking and feeding our children with pure, white” junk”! And that is the politest language I can use in my writing!
To know that we have been ignorant about it for all these years is certainly not encouraging!
What is this "A1 milk" & "A2 milk"?
Let me share this funda with you! (A little "technical" if you don’t mind!)
"Beta Casein" is one of most important protein in the milk of cows, buffalos and other mammals. It is this protein that makes milk good for consumption. Out of all the major classifications of Beta Casein, A1 classification and A2 classification stands out.
The difference is at position 67 of the Amino Acid Chain. While in A2 type, we have “proline” at position 67, we have "histidine" in A1 type.
When we drink A1 type of milk, the "histidine" mixes with our digestive enzymes and produce physiologically active "β-casomprohin (BCM)".
BCM, as some scientists claim, is cause of many a health problem in human beings.
Now, the next question that rattled my mind was, how did we get this A1 variety of milk in India?
Thanks to "Operation Flood", the answer was stunning!
Initially we had only desi cows, like the Gir cows, which is a Gujarati breed, Red Sindhi, Sahiwaal, Kankrej, Ongole, Vechur from Kerala and so on. They were native to India and produced an average of 2 to 8 litres of milk a day, which by the way, was of the nutritious variety A2. We were happy and healthy. Probably, every household had a pair, which gave them enough produce.
When we moved to the big cities having animals inside the house was impossible. So we depended on the farmers on the villages to supply us. This was insufficient and economically not viable.
To satisfy the booming city population, A Massive Co-operative movement which ushered in the "Operation Flood" was initiated from Gujarat in the 1970s, only to take the nation by storm, which catapulted our country to be the largest Milk Producer of the world today.
In this model, they aggregated milk from the farmers, Processed using modern technologies, conveniently packed and delivered to our urban consumers.
Now, an average of 6 to 8 litres of milk per animal was acutely insufficient for an ever growing consumer base busting out of the seams in our cities and towns. Increasing the animal population was not a viable alternative, hence, the policy makers, embarked on a large scale "Upgradation" of the Indigenous population through Artificially inseminating our desi breeds with Exotic High Milk Producing Breeds esp from Europe like HF, Jersey etc, whereby, they started achieving 10 to 15 litres of milk animal per day. That was "WOW" for our farmers……. But, in the process, unwittingly, introduced this rogue gene to our pool, which produced A1 milk.
Here is where we brought in the genetically mutated variety of cows, which would produce double the quantity of milk but of the A1 variety. Now milk was in abundance, but it being of the A1 variety, and this created more harm than good.
The realisation that we are sitting on a hazardous product which we are consuming every day, have struck us today, thanks to the increasing popularity of Organic and researches in countries like Australia and New Zealand, which clearly brought out these varieties and articulated the ill effects of A1 variety. Though I am sure, we still are ignorant about A1 & A2 variety of milk, we definitely wanted “farm fresh” milk and milk products.
Also some farmers have realised that in the bargain to increase the productivity of milk and feed our growing masses, they have neglected our desi Indian breed that gives high quality, nutritious (some even therapeutic) milk. And that has started to make all the difference.
After so many years, we seem to have woken up to this reality and efforts are being made to conserve the native breeds of every region.
The Yushmakam initiative!
Yushmakam is striving hard to educate and initiate farmers and thereby the general public at large to the merits and demerits of A1 & A2 varieties of milk. But they have an uphill task.
As Mr. Vasudevan, MD of Yushmakam say, “the Indian breeds that we find in South India, where we are a major player, don’t give more than 3 to 4 litters of milk per day. So, the farmers do not find it economically viable to set up a farm with desi breeds.
But what they don’t realise is that Indian breeds like the Gir Cows or Sindhi cows, that are adaptable to Indian conditions and they are capable of producing over 10 litres of milk per day. So with a marginal increase in the expenditure, we are looking at over 10 litres of highly nutritious, A2 variety of milk, which can be sold at 100 to 150 % premium, as compared to co-operative sectors, making it economically viable.
So, the 10 litres of milk that an Indian breed gives is actually equivalent to 20 litres of milk that an HF breed gives. Not to mention again the nutritional benefit.
Besides, to the farmers, maintaining an HF breed, in terms of appropriate temperature, Veterinary services, Feed requirement and so on, is more as compared to managing an Indian Breed.
Yushmakam – how we assist
Yushmakam helps plan your farm with location identification, setting up your farm including starting your company, project advisory and so on. We also help you identify the breeders and ensure you get the right breeds in your farm. We bring in the most appropriate technology to manage farm and its produce. We also assist you in your branding and marketing activities.
We help you reach out pure, hygienic and nutritious A2 milk to customers.
"After all, it is very important to know the source of the milk you’re drinking every day.", concludes Mr.Vasudevan.