Milk – Our First and Most Basic Food.


Milk is never an acquired taste – we crave its creamy sweetness from the moment we enter the world.

Humans are the only species that drink milk after infancy – the milk of other species.

East Asians are intolerant of milk after infancy. This is the reason why North American dairies developed lactose-free milk.


, farmers discovered, could be obtained and successfully used as food, after wild cattle started grazing grain fields they had planted. First they killed the animals, but soon realized that their milk could be useful. Then farmers started using cattle to pull their ploughs, used the dung as fertilizer, and fuel. After their useful life, and reproduction, they were slaughtered, the meat consumed, and the hide converted to leather.

Mammary glands are common to all mammals, and in different places the milk of buffalo, goats, yaks, ewe, donkeys, horses and camels (even moose) is consumed.

Seals produce the most fatty milk of all, although, the milk of ewe and waterbuffalo is much richer than cow’s.

Before refrigeration, milk had to be consumed shortly after it was obtained, or converted to yoghurt, cheese, sour cream, kefir, or sour milk.

While East Asians are lactose intolerant, over 90 per cent of north Europeans are not, as a result of genetic mutation.

Originally, milk was much less poplar than it now. In the 19th century, it was considered a drink for the weak and effeminate.

Only when agriculture and its products became widely available dairies started promoting their merchandise, and to this day they continue the practice in the

U S A by means of Milk Marketing Boards, and in Canada by associations.

When Gail Borden, an American inventor, started marketing “condensed milk” in tin cans, milk became more popular, as it could be kept at room temperature for long periods. Sugar acted as the preservative.

Scientists knew fro a long time that fresh and infected milked cause tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and diphtheria. After Dr. L. Pasteur introduced the concept of pasteurization milk started to become popular. However, pasteurization kills pathogenic bacteria but also diminishes flavour.

In North America practically all jurisdictions prohibit un-pasteurized milk to be marketed, but proponents of un-pasteurized milk are making slow but successful attempts to, at least on a small scale make it legal.


farmers apply high technology techniques to their cows in an attempt to increase production, and to minimize contamination and diseases. Calves are separated shortly after birth from their mothers and fed with commercial formulas. The mother produces more milk for alctation and this increases output for the farmer. The mother cow is impregnated three months after birth again to keep production flowing.

Different breeds produce milk with varying levels of fat. The grass quality and composition contribute to flavour. In Canada 93 per cent of the herd is Holstein and which produces on average 8500 litres of milk. Growth hormones are used in the U S A to increase production, which is illegal in Canada

The following breeds are known for their high-quality milk – Jersey, Guernsey, Montbeliars, Abondance, American White park, Amerifax, Angelu cattle, Argentine criollo, Asturian Mountain, British white, Barossa, Canadienne, Devon, Dexter, Finnish cattle, Gloucester, Groningen, Kalmyk, Maine Anjou, Normande, Piedmontese, Simmental, Vosges, Holstein-Freisan, Swiss brown, Ayrshire, and Milking shorthorn

Mainstream natural milk in Canada contains 3.2 per cent fat, many consumers prefer one or two per cent butterfat, and some even fat free.

Dairies remove certain amounts of fat and divert it to 35 per cent butter fat (whipping cream), or 10 – 18 per cent coffee cream, butter and other by products.

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