Health implications of beta-casein proteins in milk

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 14th April 2008

Professor Keith Woodford, author of Devil In The Milk and professor of
farm management and agribusiness at Lincoln University in New Zealand, will be in
Australia this week, speaking at a series of seminars which take a closer look into the
health implications associated with A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins in milk.

Professor Woodford will be sharing with delegates at seminars in Melbourne, Sydney
and Brisbane the evidence of more than 100 scientific papers linking beta-casein types
to a range of medical conditions, including Type 1 diabetes in children.  This substantial
and growing body of research was put before the West-Pacific International Diabetes
Federation meeting in Wellington earlier this month (2nd April) and serves as one of the
reasons why the author of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s first review of A1
and A2 beta caseins, Professor Boyd Swinburn, has changed his mind and is now
recommending that the New Zealand dairy industry should be moving to A2 milk

Genetic research reports that A2 is the original form of beta-casein, thus the sole type
of the beta-casein protein contained in milk produced by cows thousands of years ago
before newer variants arose through natural mutation.  Cows must be tested to
establish whether their milk contains the A1 or A2 form of the protein; A2 cows are then
segregated and their milk kept in isolation to avoid contamination with the A1 form.

“The debate is not about whether milk is nutritious.   Rather, the debate is about
whether for some people there are health risks associated with one particular variant of
beta-casein that is produced by some cows.  I also get many emails from people who
say they cannot drink ordinary milk but that they can drink A2,” said Professor

The widely reported perceived benefit from Australian consumers of a2 Milk™ has
attracted a large number of converts.  This has seen sales growth of 90% in the last 6
months, with an estimated consumer spend of $17million in 20081.  Demand from both
consumers and farmers wanting to switch to consume or to produce a2 Milk™ will
continue the growth and increase the availability to all Australian households.

The Australian dairy industry will also reap the benefits.  Through the herd development
programs initiated by A2 Dairy Products Australia (A2DPA), it is positioned to take a
leading role in the export of a2 products to the global market.

The growing interest in the potential effects of A1 and A2 beta-caseins on human
health is reflected in the announcement of the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA)
extensive review of the research and data relating to these two protein variants. The
EFSA expects that the review findings will be published towards the end of the year.

The seminars into the health implications of beta-casein proteins found in milk,
sponsored by A2DPA, will be taking place on the following dates:
• Melbourne – Tuesday, 15 April (The Langham Hotel)
• Sydney – Wednesday, 16 April (Hilton Sydney)
• Brisbane – Thursday, 17 April (Hilton Brisbane)

For further information visit

To schedule an interview with Professor Woodford, or to attend the seminar, please
contact Maryann Stevens on 02 8252 7095 or email

A2DPA estimates