The latest news on A2 milk

'Reporter: Helen Wellings

'Our past reports on the alternative milk, A2, had many people around Australia who are unable to tolerate ordinary milk, raving about A2's benefits. They vouched it relieved their serious conditions like ezchema, stomach aches, headaches, asthma, heart problems, even autism. Now, a controversial new book claims there's a convincing body of evidence that there's a "devil" in the normal milk we drink.

It's a tiny protein called beta A1 casein, which is linked to a range of serious illnesses, including coronary heart disease, type 1 diabetes, autism and schizophrenia. The author, Dr Keith Woodford, Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness at Lincoln University in New Zealand, analysed evidence from more than 100 scientific papers and experiments from around the world, which studied the connection between consumption of A1 normal milk and serious health conditions.Dr Keith Woodford said: "The evidence is overwhelming. The evidence relates to the country disease, where the diseases occur, it relates to trials with animals, it relates to biochemistry, we understand how this protein degrades in the stomach, we know this horrible thing called beta casein morphin 7, which I call the milk devil."

The difference between A2 milk and normal milk is based around the type of cow. In most herds here there's a mix of breeds. Friesian cows produce mostly A1 milk, Jerseys and Guernseys produce mainly A2 milk. So in Australia normal milk is a mixture.But the cows for A2 milk must be specially bred and a number of farmers in Australia have converted their herds to produce this virtually pure A2 milk

Dr Woodford said: "Wherever we have a country that has high intake per capita of A1 milk, normal milk, then we have high levels of type 1 diabetes and heart disease. "Wherever the milk is low in the A1 beta cassein, high in the A2 beta casein we have low level of the type 1 diabetes. But Dr Woodford says while some dairy industry giants in New Zealand are starting to convert their herds to produce A2, which takes up to 10 years, the dairy industry there and in Australia maintains there's no proof of normal milk's harm.

Dairy Australia told us normal milk is safe and nutritious, claiming there's insufficient evidence to change to A2. They state that in a "2004 report for the New Zealand Food Safety Authority on A1 and A2 beta-casein in milk, Professor Boyd Swinburn concluded there was insufficient evidence to warrant changing dietary advice to the public."

The milk war is raging. The A2 representatives took court action over a claimed huge cover-up of the health risks by some mainstream dairy interests. In turn, pressure from dairy companies led to Food Standards successfully suing A2 for misleading advertising.Dr Woodford added: "I am not saying to people not to drink, if people think they are in a risk category, if they think they are in a family where there tends to be type 1 diabetes, or heart disease or autism then I would say stay totally of the A1 milk, normal milk."I would like consumers to make up their own mind and come to their own conclusions based on the evidence."

"DEVIL IN THE MILK. Illness, health and politics. A1 and A2 milk" by Keith Woodford.

Craig Potton Publishing, 98 Vickerman Street, PO Box 555, Nelson, New Zealand. Recommended retail price $37.95.

The book will be start to be available from 19 September, 2007 in major bookshops in Australia. Orders can be placed.

A2 milk is available in 1000 supermarkets, including many Coles and Woolworths, and food stores around Australia.