Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 17:
The state-owned Odisha State Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation (OMFED) is contemplating adding desi cow milk to its existing range of dairy products. The new product is likely to hit the market in the next six months.
The dairy manufacturer is presently producing milk from a combination of Shankar and desi breed cows, which is a mixture of A1 and A2 type beta-casein proteins.
According to an estimate, there are about 1.5 crore cows in Odisha of which 11% are of the Shankar breed and the rest 89% are desi cows. Jersey and Holstein belong to the Shankar breed cows. Holstein cow’s milk contains fat varying from 3 to 3.5% and Jersey cow’s milk contains 4% fat. However, desi cow’s milk contains a slightly higher fat percentage of up to 5%.
“Milk is broadly categorised into two types—A1 and A2. While the Shankar breed cow produces A1 milk, the pure Indian breed desi cow produces A2 milk. A recent research conducted in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand suggest that prolonged intake of A1 milk causes health hazards, including Type 1 diabetes, autism, heart disease, schizophrenia, endocrine dysfunctions, digestive distress and other aggravating neurological disorders. However, they have found that A2 milk is safer for human consumption,” Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics at Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) Sushant Kumar Dash said.
Notably, the pricing of the milk is done as per the fat content in it. In view of this, the desi cow milk is healthy for humans, but is comparatively costly.
“We have proposal to sell A2 milk through OMFED. We are also planning to separate Shankar cow milk and desi cow milk. As the availability of desi cow milk is low, the price of the milk will be slightly higher. The pricing and availability of this type of milk will be decided in a few months,” Commissioner-cum-Secretary Fisheries & Animal Resource Development, Bishnupada Sethi said.
Research shows that A1 and A2 are digested differently. The A1 beta-casein, a mutated protein in the milk which contains Betacasomophorine-7 (BCM-7), poses health hazards. Casomorphins have opioid (narcotic) properties and are not digested well by some people. On the other hand, the A2 milk differs by one amino acid and is a naturally occurring cow milk, not a result of a technological process or genetic engineering.