What is A2?

A2 is the name given to a protein that is present in the milk of most mammals, including goats, sheep, and even cats, dogs, and humans! It could be described as 'the original milk protein'

However, at some point in history, another gene became commonplace in the cattle population worldwide - the 'A1' gene. Human consumption of the A1 protein in cow dairy produce is suggested by some studies to be harmful to health - exactly how harmful, is uncertain - but it is well documented to be at least a potential cause of dairy intolerances - many people diagnosed as 'lactose intolerant' find they can digest A2 milk with no problems. 

Whether or not a cow produces A1 or A2 milk is determined by her genetics. If she is genetically A1A1 (2 copies of the A1 gene), she will produce 100% A1 milk protein. If she is A1A2, she will produce a mixture, and if she is A2A2, she will produce 100% A2 milk protein.

All our cows are confirmed as carrying the A2A2 gene. Testing for this is relatively simple - we pluck some hairs from the cow's tail and send them to an independent laboratory for analysis. After 2 or 3 weeks, we get our results.

It's a common misconception that only cows of certain breeds can produce A2 milk. Whilst it's true that some breeds have a higher incidence of the A2 gene within their population (for example the Guernsey), if you want to be sure of getting 100% A2 milk, each cow has to be tested. After that, it's easy - we just make sure we only use breeding bulls which are also tested as A2A2, and if all the mother cows are A2A2, all the resulting calves will be A2A2 themselves.