What is A2 Milk?


Natually Raised Farm Products - Rockwood, Tennessee

Just the facts please! A2 Milk, and Natural "Raw" Milk.

What does Certified A2/A2 mean?

All human mothers produce A2 milk, while only some cattle produce A2 milk. The majority of commercial milk is A1 because most cattle breeds produce A1/A1 or at best, A1/A2. The Guernsey breed of which 96% produce A2/A2 is an exception. The only way to know what a given cow produces is through DNA testing which can get expensive. It is believed that humans can easier digest A2 milk, and also that those who suffer from lactose intolerance are not affected when consuming A2/A2 milk. We milk a herd of A2/A2 certified cattle, most are Registered Guernseys, but some are Guernsey cross-breeds which are also A2/A2 certified. We no longer milk any cattle that have not been A2 tested.

Each cow posesses two copies of the beta-casein gene which can be A1/A1, A1/A2, or A2/A2. Neither the A1 nor A2 is dominant so the milk produced by an A1/A2 cow should contain equal proportions. The bull also plays an equally important role and he must be DNA tested as well to ensure A2/A2 offspring. An A2/A2 Cow bred to an A2/A2 bull will absolutely produce A2/A2 offspring. You cannot simply have a herd of cattle of a particular breed and have any certainty that they produce a given type of milk. There are in fact, A2/A2 certified Holstein bulls and cows which bred together will produce A2/A2 Holstein offspring.

Most of the hype about A2 milk began in New Zealand in the 1990s. A2 milk according to some sources is much healthier than A1 milk, or blends that contain A1. There is no way to know what a given cow produces without DNA testing. It has been proven that the Guernsey breed is the highest producer of A2 milk products at 96%, the Brown Swiss second at 68%, and finally the Jersey at 57%. Other breeds do indeed produce A2 milk; even in the Holstein breed there are A2 producers, in fact, 35% of the Holstein breed is A2/A2.

What about Pasteurization?

There are eight pasteurization methods in use (all followed by rapid cooling), but only three common; VAT where milk is held at 145° for 30-minutes, HTST which is High Temperature Short Time (161° for 15-seconds) and UHT which is Ultra High Temperature (280° for 2-seconds). There is much debate about what is left as far as nutrients are concerned after this heat treating process. I don't think anyone with any common sense can disupute that changes do occur, in fact most literature will agree. It is commonly believed in the scientific community that HTST produces a negligable change but UHT does however change milk considerably. Kind of a no-brainer don't you think, take a natural product and apply UHT pasteurization to it and suddenly you can leave it on your counter for an indefinate period and as long as you don't open it, it will keep just fine. After UHT what is left? What is negligable? If you have something that weighs five pounds and you add an ounce to it you have made a negligable increase in the weight but you have changed the weight just the same haven't you?

I should have been dead long ago because I was raised on Raw Milk and we drank a lot of it. We milked our own cows and drank it just as it came from them just as people have consumed milk for thousands of years. Though not as common as it once was, babies still nurse directly from their mothers in some countries. In the US however, we have lots of unnatural products you can feed your babies. Wow, that's something to consider, maybe all the diseases can be attributed to the lack of consuming something natural and all the chemicals added to make it last on the store shelves. In any case I still drink raw milk and I still ain't dead or sick that I know of.

Cleanliness of the Dairy farm during the milking process

This is really where I think the problem lies. When I managed the dairy farm many moons ago, I carried a bucket of frequently changed warm soapy water with me and washed the udders of the cattle before I attached the "claw" (we called it cups back then). That's how I learned to do it then and I still do it today. The washing with warm water actually serves two purposes; it cleans the udder obviously, but secondly, it causes the cow to release the milk so to speak; she relaxes and lets it flow.

During a recent visit to a commercial dairy farm I was present while the milking was going on. I observed as the farmer placed the "claws" on the cattle and noticed that he did not wash the udders, however he did dip the teats in an antiseptic solution after the claws were removed. I was rather shocked to say the least; why, I wondered, would he not wash the udders. Then it occurred to me, maybe today it is no longer necessary nor common practice because all milk is pasteurized. I also thought back on the time when I accidently pumped all the acid and caustic soda into the bulk tank with the milk and the bulk plant told me not to worry about it when I called them in a panic.

I think cleanliness is everything. I think that prompt filtering and refrigeration of the milk is imperative. I think that with those two things accomplished Raw Milk is healthier than "store bought" milk any day of the week. In any case we have our cattle tested, and we ensure cleanliness and prompt refrigeration.

Other fads that people buy into:

  • Gluten Free - This has to be one of the most rediculous fads going on today. What is interesting is that probably no one you know or will ever know actually has an allergy to gluten. Gluten is a nutrient we need.
  • GMO - Just what are GMOs? Genetically Modified Organisms. If you aren't going to eat GMOs, you ain't going to eat. Little of what is grown today hasn't been modified. That is just how common they actually are and in most cases there isn't anything wrong with the end product even by the slightest stretch of imagination. An exception is plants which have been modified to resist poisons which will then be applied to them in very high doses.
  • Organics - If you want true Organics you better go straight to your local farm or you need to garden yourself. I can't tell you how many local farmers I see putting Seven dust on their gardens so thick it looks like it snowed and they don't think a thing about it. Be very careful about commercial organics. Go to the USDA website and see just how many chemicals are permitted.
  • Cage Free or Free Range - Here is another one I can't believe, people just think because someone writes this on the label that the chickens are actually roaming about the world returning to lay an egg right where it is suppose to. The truth is far from it, but that's govenment controlled labeling for you.
  • Allergies - So many people claim an allergy, it must be cool or something. I work in the medical field in my day job and as a result I see more faked allergic reactions than you can imagine. Just because you have an unpleasant reaction to something doesn't mean you have an allergy. That's like saying you're allergic to electricity because you get shocked when you stick your finger in the light socket. Jump to Top