Is high fat percentage a good indicator of milk quality?

27/12/2016

In India, a common practice for testing the quality of milk is how thick is the Malai – a layer of cream formed while boiling the milk. But is this really a good indicator of the quality of the milk? A short answer is “No.”

Historically, the local milkman will add water to dilute the milk before selling. The amount (thickness) of Malai that forms would be less if the water was added to the milk. A quick test and it worked fine. But does the Malai test work in this day and age when approximately of 2/3 of the milk is adulterated and not just with the water? I am afraid not.

To the best of my knowledge there are no easy tests at the consumer level to easily test the quality of milk at home. So, here is a checklist to get you started…

  • Does your milkman owns the cows or buffalos or does he collect it from others?
  • What do they feed the cows? Are they roaming around on streets and eating garbage and plastics?
  • How clean is the place? How are they managing the temperature of the milk?
  • Is it pasteurized or homogenized? How much processing has been done to the milk?
  • How is it packed? in a container, glass bottle (how do you clean it?), food grade pouches etc.
  • Are you mixing the milk of different animals like cows, buffalos and goats? Other animals?
  • Are you using any drugs to enhance the yield?

The list is fairly long but above should be some of the first questions you should ask before consuming the milk? This is especially true for young children. You should visit the farm and see with your own eyes and ask tough questions.

At LaVeda we believe that the milk from our own farm where our own cows are fed a high quality nutritious diet in a safe and hygienic environment is not a luxury but a basic necessity.

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Cows enjoying a sunny winter day

19/12/2016

laveda-cows-resting-at-farm

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How fresh is your milk packet purchased over the counter

10/12/2016

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Milk cows or buffaloes and transport to local collection point (3 to 4 hrs)

Testing of milk and add to the collection tank (1 hr approx)

Collected milk picked up by the tankers (4 to 18 hrs)

Tankers driven to milk processing centers (6 to 24 hrs)

Tankers deposit milk in collection pits and milk wait for it turns to be processed (2 to 6 hrs)

Pasteurization, homogenization, mechanical separation, packing etc. (varies…1 to 2 hr)

Loading, Transport thru trucks, unloading at retailers (6 to 12 hrs)

Best guess: You are waiting outside the store to pick it up (No time or however long it takes)

It takes roughly 1-3 days for the milk to reach to you from the farmers for a typical mass produced milk pouches. So much for the fresh milk!

Check out Laveda cow’s milk where we directly supply from our farm to your home and in hours. And the milk is moved in a temperature controlled environment along it’s journey.

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Cow’s milk and malai (cream): why Indians like high fat% in milk

3/12/2016

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Indians at large prefer full fat (6% to 8%) milk. For them, it’s the measure of how good the milk is. At first this is baffling as rest of the world is trying to reduce the fat intake its diet. Their focus is on protein and other nutritients.

Why is that?

The question puzzled me immensely for a while now. So, I decided to talk to many of our customers and many who refused to buy from us as pure cow milk is naturally lower in fat. The key reasons that I could infer are…

  1. A measure of quality – Historically milk in India was delivered by a local milkman. These milkmen were notorious for mixing water in the milk. This could easily be detected by the resulting lower fat content (lower cream production, read thinner malai). So in due course of time, high fat content milk became synonym with higher quality milk.
  2. A multi-purpose product – Frequently the household will extract butter, ghee and other products from the raw milk before drinking it. A high fat content milk will yield higher amount of butter which is a popular cooking ingredient in Indian cooking.
  3. Obese appearance – In India an obese person is often considered a wealthy person. A high fat percentage (6% to 8%) milk helps with obesity. The attitude may be changing but the old habits die hard.

This is my very unscientific survey. More extensive and scientific studies need to be conducted to understand the habits and how it affects the health of millions of people. Meanwhile, it suffices to say that one should re-examine the beliefs regarding the high fat content milk. May be there was a reason (low fat content among others) why our ancestors preferred natural cow milk!

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LaVeda Cow’s Ghee – respecting traditions

3/12/2016

laveda-cow-ghee-from-curd-delhi-milk

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Common myths vs reality of LaVeda cow’s milk

27/11/2016
  • All milk is cow’s milk – not true! Almost all dairies are sourcing milk from outside. Which means the milk is mixed from various animals, cows, buffaloes, goat, sheep even camel and yak in creation parts. LaVeda milk is pure cows milk from animals bred on our own farm
  • Milk has to be pasteurized else it goes bad in transit – It is true milk has a very short shelf life. It can go bad if not transported at the right temperature. However the process of pasteurization also kills good bacteria, thus taking away the goodness of milk. LaVeda milk is chilled and transported at the right temperature (4 degree C) to homes
  • Milk has no smell – The fact is that fresh cow’s milk has sweet smell of milk. All dairies ionize the milk to remove the original smell. But the process again harms the nutrition quality. LaVeda milk is not ionized and thus has rich aroma of natural milk
  • Cow’s need to be fed high protein diet for more milk – The best combination of nutrition in cows milk is when they are fed natural fodder. High protein diets may increase the yield but sacrifices the nutrition value and harms cow’s health. LaVeda farms grows and feeds its own natural fodder to cows. The yield per cow is lower but the milk is the best nature can give
  • Only milk for pure bred desi cows have A2 proteins – While desi cows milk does have A2 proteins, they are not the only ones. The HF breed of cross breeds have been bred with desi cows and the milk produced by them has approximately 60-70% of A2 protein compared to Desi cows
  • Cow’s milk is supposed to be pure white – Not true. Natural cow’s milk is creamy (light golden) in color. In fact that’s how the color got its name. Some dairies use bleaching agents along with ionization to make the milk pristine white and without smell. In essence this is taking away a lot from the milk. LaVeda milk is creamy (light golden) in color which shows that’s the way milk should be.
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