#AceFoodNews says as more and more of our milk products become over priced more and more people are turning to alternatives, such as milk from Llama’s, or Yaks’s to name but two, and as the UN reported just recently these “Milk and Dairy Products” from underutilized animals such as llama, donkey or yak should be more widely used to counteract high cow milk prices, the United Nations food agency stated <“http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/203977/icode/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social+media&utm_campaign=fao+facebook“>said urging Governments to invest in programmes that help poor families keep small dairy livestock.
The llama, an animal classified in the camelid family with camels and alpacas, lives in the Andean Mountain region of South America. As a domesticated animal, llamas can work like a horse or mule pulling a cart or carrying packs, while leaving a smaller environmental footprint, meaning they do less damage to the fields or trails. Llamas can guard sheep, produce high quality wool and graze in pastures, making them useful and easy to maintain as a livestock animal. Because they are mammals, female llamas produce milk to feed their young. Their milk contains lactose.
WHAT IS LACTOSE?
Sugar molecules consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms hooked together to form a ring. Sugar exists in a variety of chemical forms including sucrose or table sugar; fructose, which is found in fruit; and lactose, the sugar in milk. Lactose consists of two smaller sugar molecules known as glucose and galactose bound together. Lactose does not taste as sweet as table sugar, but does give milk and other dairy products their slightly sweet flavor. Milk produced by all mammals, including llamas, contains lactose.
LLAMA MILK COMPOSITION:
Like all mammals, llamas produce milk to feed their babies, known as crias. Llama milk contains more protein than cow’s milk and goat’s milk, with 4.23 percent protein compared to 3.3 percent in cow’s milk and 2.9 percent in goat’s milk, according to the Alpaca Breeders of Southern California. Llama milk also contains more calcium with 1,701 ppm as compared to 1,080 ppm in cow’s milk and 1,400 in goat’s milk. In addition llama milk contains higher amounts of phosphorus and potassium. Despite the nutritional advantages llama milk offers, it likely will not replace cow’s milk or goat’s milk as a major source of milk due to the small population of llamas and their low milk production.
LLAMA MILK LACTOSE:
Only 80,000 to 100,000 llamas live in the United States, a small population when compared to other livestock used for milk production, according to the Llama Lifestyle Marketing Association. In addition, each female llama only produces about 60 mL of milk at a time, which means their young must suckle often to get adequate nutrition. Although you can drink llama milk, many people looking for a substitute for cow’s milk need a milk product that does not contain lactose due to lactose intolerance. Llama’s milk contains a higher lactose content than cow’s milk with 5.93 percent lactose compared to 4.7 percent.
When you consume milk and dairy products your body must break down the lactose to absorb the sugar and convert it to usable energy. The enzyme called lactase, produced by the cells lining the small intestine, breaks the bond between the glucose and galactose molecules. The small intestine can then absorb the smaller sugar molecules. Babies produce large amounts of lactase to digest the lactose in their milk. As you age, your body slows down the production of lactase. Without enough lactase, you cannot absorb the lactose and it stays in the digestive tract. The large intestine tries to break down the lactose through a process of fermentation carried out by bacteria. This causes the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance, which include chronic diarrhea, gas, bloating and stomach pains.
- University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: Llamas a Different Kind of Pet; Linda March; October 1995
- “Journal of Dairy Science”; Composition of Milk From Llamas in the United States; D.E. Morin et. al.; August 1995
“There is huge scope for developing other dairy species,” said UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) livestock industry officer, Anthony Bennett, highlighting the nutritional and economic resources of these animals.
In <“http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3396e/i3396e.pdf“>Milk and Dairy Products in Human Nutrition, a book co-authored by Mr. Bennett, the FAO reported that non-traditional sources of dairy, alongside other species that are already used for milk like buffalo, goat and sheep, can improve nutrition among the most vulnerable groups.
Although the term ‘milk’ has become almost synonymous with cow milk, milk from many other species is consumed in different parts of the world. The book covers the milk composition of other major dairy species such as buffalo, goat and sheep, and species that are currently underutilized in dairy production such as alpaca, camel and mithun.
In addition to being very high in fat and protein, dairy products from animals such as reindeer or moose may be suitable for the two to six per cent of the population allergic to cow milk.
Dairy consumption in developing countries is expected to grow by 25 percent by 2025 as a result of population growth and rising incomes, according to figures cited in the publication, but will likely still be too expensive for most households that subsist on starch or cereal-based diets.
“Governments need to address the issue by making nutrition a specific objective in dairy sector development and by investing in programmes that help poor families keep small dairy livestock,” the UN agency said.
Currently about 150 million households – some 750 million people – are engaged in milk production around the world, the majority of whom are in developing countries.
“A major challenge is for Governments to develop inclusive policies and encourage investment from the private sector that helps these small-scale farmers take advantage of the escalating demand for milk and dairy in developing countries to improve their livelihoods,” Mr. Bennett said.
The book also calls for new collaborative initiatives to address the environmental effects of the dairy sector, which accounts for some four per cent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in addition to increasing pressure on land and water resources.
“Producing, processing and distributing milk and dairy products, like other foods, does affect the planet, and ongoing efforts are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by the sector,” said Mr. Bennett.
New York, Nov 26 2013 3:00PM
- Lactards Can Have Dairy With the Help of a Few Little Pills (gizmodo.co.uk)
- UN touts milk’s role in improving nutrition of world’s poor (blogs.desmoinesregister.com)
- Can Yak and Reindeer Milk Nourish a Growing World? (inhabitat.com)
- Donkey milk? UN food agency says yes to counter high milk prices (nation.co.ke)
- Africa: Milk and Dairy Hold Potential for Improving Nutrition of World’s Poor (magarya.wordpress.com)
- UN food agency says alpaca, donkey, moose, reindeer and yak milk should be used to counteract high cow milk prices (rawstory.com)
- Moose Milk? Yes Please, Says UN Food Agency (medindia.net)