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A2 Milk Gets Precautionary Tick

Press Release
Ron Law

A2 Milk Gets Precautionary Tick

''The New Zealand Food Safety Authority response to the evidence in Professor Swinburn's report on A2 Milk demonstrates the double standards that pervades health policy,'' says Ron Law, an advocate of evidence based risk management.

Professor Boyd found "some very suggestive evidence from ecological studies for DM-1 and IHD," and concluded that "there is certainly a possibility that the A1/A2 composition of milk is a factor in the etiology of these conditions."

This in itself should encourage the NZFSA to not only undertake urgent clinical studies, but utilise the precautionary principle and publicise Professor Boyd's opinion that switching to A2 milk would do no harm and might have benefits.

"NZFSA's neutral response is in reality a big tick for A2 milk; explicit support would have triggered political outrage from the large New Zealand dairy interests who have much to lose in overseas markets,"says Ron Law (09 832 4773).

It is also interesting that Professor Boyd went beyond his terms of reference in saying that the claims being made to the public about health benefits of A2 milk should be monitored to ensure that they are within the food claims regulations. Current food claim regulations prevent truthful statements being made and are designed to protect the pharmaceutical industry. Why should it be unlawful to tell the truth about food products?

Professor Boyd's and the NZFSA's opinion that they do not believe that there is sufficient evidence as yet to warrant more specific population measures is at odds with the evidence and discussion within his report.

Professor Boyd makes two very telling comments about the implications of his findings which should be publicised...

1. Changing dairy herds to more A2 producing cows may significantly improve public health, if the A1/A2 hypothesis is proved correct, and it is highly unlikely to do harm.

2. As a matter of individual choice, people may wish to reduce or remove A1 B-casein from their diet (or their children's diet) as a precautionary measure. This may be particularly relevant for those individuals who have or are at risk of the diseases mentioned ... they should do so knowing that there is substantial uncertainty about the benefits of such an approach.

How can consumers exercise that individual choice it they aren't told? Risk managers utilising the precautionary principle would not take such a neutral position as the NZFSA has. Imagine if A1 milk was a dietary supplement... it would have been banned already!


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