A2’s literature explains that the company’s farmer-suppliers use DNA analysis of tail hair from each cow to certify she is producing A2 milk, which is kept segregated throughout processing.
To its credit, A2 Corp. officials have been careful not to overtly suggest that consuming its products would allow consumers sidestep the serious diseases identified in Elliott’s and Woodford’s published research. Instead, they merely emphasize the “digestive benefits” of its fluid milk, fresh cream and infant formula products. Of course, some of that caution is the result of a $15,000 fine the Queensland (Australia) Health Department levied on the company in 2004 for making “false and misleading claims” about the health benefits of its a2 brand milk.
Here’s the bottom line: Given the incredible variability of individuals in any large population, it’s entirely possible that certain people do react severely to the A1 protein fraction when it’s present in milk—especially babies, whose digestive tracts are far more permeable. After all, most people could eat an entire jar of peanut butter without incident, while a few sensitive individuals would risk anaphylactic shock merely by sniffing the lid.
Whether or not the science behind A2’s marketing is legitimate, the company is poised to re-enter the U.S. market sometime this year. It seems clear from reading their prospectus that its management believes there are enough American consumers willing to pay a premium for A2 milk to make the launch worthwhile.
Even more telling: It’s now possible to convert a herd of A1-producing cows to A2-producing cows, and selected dairies are doing exactly and test-marketing A2 milk in a number of states.
Might try some myself.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dan Murphy, a veteran food-industry journalist and commentator.