A2 milk launched five years ago and since then they have done their best to convince us all that, although of course it is not suitable for those with serious cow’s milk allergy, A2 milk is ‘freefrom’ and the rest of the world will benefit from drinking it. Which begs two questions.
One. Is A2 milk (from Guernsey/Jersey cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, camel etc) really that much better for us than than A1 milk (from ‘standard’ European cows)?
Two. How ethical/acceptable/safe/dangerous is their marketing?
The Allergy + FreeFrom Show‘s decision to accept A2 as sponsors for the café at Olympia two weeks ago prompted another round of social media ‘exchanges’ on the subject. Which, in turn, prompted Alex to look rather more closely at A2’s claims and ‘research’ – and, indeed, their marketing techniques. He is not too impressed with any of them.
I also covered the subject in rather more general terms back in April 2012 when headlines not only suggested that A2 milk was the answer to all a milk sensitive’s woes, but that if they were still in trouble, then Daisy the genetically-modified-to-be-hypoallergenic New Zealand cow would sort them out.
As I pointed out in this piece, milk/dairy allergy/intolerance is a hideously complicated issue with hundreds of variables depending on proteins, epitopes, individual sensitivity, age, state of health, season, etc etc etc. And that is without adding the complication of lactose intolerance, so often confused in many sufferer’s minds, with milk protein intolerance.
So anything that adds to that confusion cannot be good.
As you will see from Alex’s blog, A2’s current marketing does indeed add to the confusion making claims that it is ‘freefrom’, ‘as nature intended’, ‘will resolve your lactose intolerance’ and more.
While savvy, allergy-literate milk sensitives and the mums of milk sensitive children will no doubt be able to chart a course through all of this, not all milk sensitives are either savvy or allergy literate. And given the complexity of the subject, there is no shame in not being able to get your head around it.
There has, therefore, to be a significant risk that some of the A2 claims could be misunderstood and that a seriously cow’s milk protein allergic person (or the parent of a seriously cow’s milk protein allergic child) will understand those claims to mean that the A2 milk safe for them – with possibly tragic results.
A2 have asked many times whether they can either enter or sponsor the FreeFrom Food Awards. We have always said no. And I am afraid that, no matter how helpful some milk intolerance sufferers may find the product in resolving their digestive issues, until A2 come up with a marketing strategy which we feel really protects genuine cow’s milk protein allergy sufferers, it will stay that way.