Do you Remember ….. Little Miss Muffet sat on her Tuffet eating her curds and whey
Now, about that dish of curds and whey she was eating….
Curds are basically casein, a protein found in milk that coagulates or thickens in the presence of the enzyme rennet, whereas the whey is the protein in the watery bit; picture a bowl of cottage cheese.
Little Miss Muffett’s meal:
The protein in cow’s milk is about 80% casein and 20% whey, where-as in human milk it is 40% casein and 60% whey.
The casein protein in cow’s milk comes in a number of forms.
The two most common are alpha casein and beta casein. Beta casein makes up about 30% of the total casein protein in cows’ milk and may be present as either the A1 or A2 major genetic type . Most dairy milk produced commercially here in Australia and around the world contains a mixture of A1 and A2 beta casein proteins.
Now, it is these two beta casein proteins that has sparked the interest of many scientists in the last few years. Digestion is the breaking apart of these proteins into smaller building blocks (peptides and amino acids) for the body to use, and this is where the difference lies.
During digestion of the A1 beta casein, a peptide known as beta casomorphin (BCM) is produced; this appears to be absent during digestion of the A2 beta casein protein. It’s the effect of this opioid peptide on the human gut that is driving health care professionals to investigate the tolerance between different milks.
To date there are many studies and emerging research assessing the presence of the BCM peptide and subsequent gastrointestinal effects reported in some people.
Some of the reported effects include
- delayed transit time through the bowel affecting stool consistency,
- inflammation, and
- digestive discomfort including bloating, abdominal pain and flatulence.
Not everyone who consumes cow’s milk that contains A1 beta casein protein will be affected by BCM, however for fussy or unsettled little ones it may be worth trialling Infant Formula free of the A1 protein.
It’s important to remember, the benefits of A2 only protein milk are not just for those with gastrointestinal symptoms, it may simply EASE the intestinal load and therefore benefit even those with healthy guts.
Cow’s milk that only contains the A2 casein protein is now commercially available in a range of countries around the world and, luckily for us, right here in Australia. Australian ‘Farmers Beta A2’, is a range of products based on home grown Australian A2 protein milk, free of A1 beta casein.
The toddler milk drink produced by Farmers Beta A2 is based on a ratio of 40% casein and 60% whey – the same ratios as found in human breast milk - and contains many important nutrients to nourish little bodies. A single cup can provide your little one with iron for brain and cognitive function, calcium and magnesium for strong bones and teeth.
Farmers Beta A2 products have been supplemented with the important omega 3 fat, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for proper brain and eye development and prebiotics, FOS and GOS to feed and nurture healthy bacteria to maintain a healthy gut biome.
Dairy is an important part of a healthy diet for all littlies and should include daily serves of milk, yoghurt and cheese. Toddlers aged between 1 and 3 years require 1.5 serves of dairy or alternatives per day where a serve can include 1 cup of milk, ¾ cup of yoghurt or 2 slices of cheese.
The Farmers Beta A2 Nutritional Toddler Milk is a nourishing milk drink based on only the Beta A2 casein protein which may aid in alleviating symptoms of intolerance to regular cow’s milk. There is no added sucrose or colours and preservatives. It is a wonderful addition to a healthy diet, to help fill any nutritional gaps whilst providing essential vitamins and minerals for healthy growing bodies.
Lactoferrin is a naturally occurring protein found in many mammalian mucosal secretions and fluids, including human milk and cow’s milk. The iron-binding properties of Lactoferrin give it antibacterial, antimicrobial and an immune modulating activity.
Lactoferrin (LF), formerly known as Lactotransferrin (LTF) belongs to the group known as Transferrin’s, a family of iron-binding glycoproteins which function by controlling the level of free iron in biological fluids. Both human Lactoferrin (hLF) and bovine Lactoferrin (bLF) were discovered and isolated around the same time in the early 1960’s.
Lactoferrin is a protein made up of a single chain containing 703 amino acids folded into two globular lobes. It is produced in the mammary gland as well as in the tear or lacrimal glands, in bronchial membranes, and in the glands that produce saliva.
Human colostrum, known as ‘first milk’ has the highest concentration, with levels around 7g/L of Lactoferrin followed by mature human milk with levels measured at around 1g/L. Bovine or cow’s milk contains around 150 mg/L of Lactoferrin.
Lactoferrin is an important part of the infection defence mechanism and can help protect the mother from diseases or infections in the mammary tissues such as mastitis, a common inflammation of the mammary gland in the breast or udder. Studies have reported a fluctuation in the level of Lactoferrin found in the milk produced as a protective mechanism to prevent further infections.
The newborns gastrointestinal and immune system develop rapidly from birth, and studies have shown that Lactoferrin plays an important protective role, helping support healthy gut immune function and support the immune system to fight illness.
During these first few days of lactation, Lactoferrin concentrations remain high with a sharp decrease once the supply of mature milk commences, as the needs of the infant are met.
Colostrum is a milky white fluid produced by the mammary glands of mammals, including humans and cows, in the first few days after giving birth. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘first milk’, as it is produced before the true milk production begins. Bovine or cow colostrum is similar to human colostrum, rich in minerals and vitamins and high in fat for energy. It contains carbohydrate and immune enhancing proteins, as well as growth hormones and enzymes. It’s an important source of nutrients that promote growth, and fight diseases in infants, and so is essential in their first vulnerable days of life.
Some of the proteins found in colostrum are of particular importance, as they have crucial roles to play in helping to fight disease and infection as well as promoting growth. These proteins include lactoferrin, growth factors and antibodies:
- Lactoferrin is an iron binding glycoprotein involved in the body’s first immune response to infections caused by bacteria and viruses
- Growth factors are protein based hormones that stimulate growth. Bovine colostrum is particularly rich in two of these hormones, Insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and Insulin like growth factor 2 (IGF-2)
- Antibodies are proteins known as immunoglobulins (Ig’s) that fight any disease caused by bacteria and viruses, which a newborn is exposed to, as soon as it enters the environment outside of the mother’s womb. Antibody levels in colostrum can be 100 times higher than levels in regular milk. They provide the newborn with passive immunity; basically kick-starting the immune system development. Cow’s colostrum is rich in antibodies (or immunoglobulins) IgA, IgG and IgM.
Being a naturally produced liquid with its complex biological components, Colostrum, may play a significant role in human healthcare in the future. Besides providing immune support, colostrum has remarkable muscular-skeletal repair and growth capabilities as well as being able to be used to treat or prevent infections of the gastrointestinal tract. When aimed at particular consumer groups, colostrum may have many medical applications including, wound healing with practical implications for trauma and surgical patients. The growth factors found in colostrum may have multiple regenerative effects that extend to all structural body cells.
Colostrum is one of the ingredients of our Lactoferrin A2 extra product.
Lactoferrin supports the ‘innate’ or ‘general’ part of the immune system which is the body's first line of defence against germs entering the body. The second part of the immune system is the ‘adaptive’ or ‘specialized’ system which has stronger defence mechanisms.
The ‘innate’ system responds to all germs and foreign substances in exactly the same way, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the "nonspecific" immune system. It acts very quickly making sure that bacteria for example, that have entered the body are detected and destroyed on the spot within a few hours.
Lactoferrin’s main biological function is the binding and transport of iron, however Lactoferrin has also been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal functions and properties.
By sequestering or ‘hiding away’ free iron, Lactoferrin removes the essential iron that bacteria need for growth. Lactoferrin also binds to substances known as lipopolysaccharides on bacterial walls. Through certain oxidative processes the bacterial membrane permeability is affected, resulting in the bacteria’s cell breakdown or lysis. Lactoferrin also prevents the attachment of the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori (H.Pylori) in the stomach, which in turn, aids in reducing digestive system disorders. Bovine Lactoferrin has a more potent effect against H. pylori than human Lactoferrin
The most studied mechanism of the antiviral activity of Lactoferrin, is its ability to divert virus particles from their target cells. Many viruses tend to bind to the lipoproteins (fatty molecules) of the cell membranes and then penetrate into the cell. Lactoferrin binds to the same particles, competing with and thereby repelling the virus particles. Lactoferrin also displays antiviral activity against both DNA- and RNA-viruses, including rotavirus, respiratory syncytial virus, herpes viruses and HIV. The antiviral effect of Lactoferrin begins in the early phase of infection. Again, Lactoferrin prevents entry of the virus in the host cell, either by blocking cellular receptors, or by direct binding to the virus particles.
Various antifungal functions of Lactoferrin have been reported including a wide spectrum of activity across yeasts including Candida Albicans and moulds. Research using Lactoferrin with other antifungal drugs in combination therapy have been studied with positive results. More recent studies now suggest that the main antifungal mechanism of Lactoferrin does not involve iron, rather it occurs through a direct interaction with the fungal cell surface, leading to cell membrane damage and leakage.
Lactoferrin (Lf) is an iron-binding glycoprotein produced naturally in mammalian milk, including human milk and Bovine or cow’s milk. One of its main roles is to bind iron, essentially starving nasty bacteria and viruses, making them unable to proliferate and take hold inside the body, thus reducing the risk of infection and disease. However, Lactoferrin has also been shown in recent studies to promote the growth of selected probiotic or beneficial strains of bacteria. Research has revealed the growth promoting effects of Lactoferrin on probiotic strains of Bifidobacterium and lactobacilli, two important gram positive anaerobic bacterial strains that naturally colonise parts of the human intestine.
The increase in numbers and the diversification of species of intestinal microbiota may have an impact on several health related issues including:
- Strengthening the gut lining making it less permeable to bacteria, parasites and viruses therefore reducing diseases and infections
- Discouraging the colonization and overgrowth of normally harmless enteric pathogens such as, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli (pathogenic strains) and Shigella
- Enhancing the growth and maturation of cellular barrier components of the gut wall and gut nerve fibres
- Helping to balance the anti- and pro-inflammatory responses resulting in gut homeostasis, the balance between the host immunity and intestinal microbiota.
Probiotics or healthy gut bacteria have been shown to secrete protective substances, which may boost the bodies defence system and prevent nasty pathogens from taking hold. Disruption of a healthy balanced intestinal ecosystem of bacteria or ’biome’ is associated with a plethora of human diseases, including autoimmune and allergic diseases, colorectal cancer, metabolic diseases, and bacterial infections.
The excessive use of antibiotics to kill pathogenic bacteria and therefore reducing infections may be counterproductive and may contribute to the rise in antibiotic resistant bacterial strains. Using naturally produced bactericidal and antimicrobial agents such as Lactoferrin to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria may enhance the medical way of the future.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is an independent agency established by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 and is overseen by an Australian Government Minister managing the Health Portfolio.
A company producing and supplying food to Australian consumers is obliged to adhere to the Food Standards to produce food that is safe and suitable to eat. A food business is any business or activity that involves the production and handling of any type of food for sale, or the sale of food in Australia.
FSANZ has developed a set of food standards to make sure that all ingredients used are safe for humans to consume in a regulated amount. This includes the additions of food colours, flavours, and preservatives, processing aids such as emulsifiers and anti-caking agents and antioxidants.
The addition of vitamins and minerals is also tightly regulated to ensure that companies are being responsible and the addition has a purpose other than to just sell their product; for example the mineral calcium is added to soy based milk drinks for those who are allergic to cow’s milk, whereas calcium cannot be added to soft drink to increase its nutritional content and consequently its sale.
Food standards also outline labelling requirements for packaged and non-packaged foods which includes specific mandatory warnings on labels such as ‘excess use of this product may have a laxative effect’ or regulating health claims on the labels such as low fat, lower in fat or fat free.
FSANZ is also responsible for setting food safety standards for companies to reduce the risk and lower the incidence of food – borne illness. These standards also set out health and hygiene obligations for anyone handling food for human consumption.
Farmers Beta A2 are producing Australian products that are highly regulated by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). This means all their products reach and were possible exceed these standards, a fact that they are very proud of.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) set guidelines for the safe handling of all foodstuffs for those who prepare food and drinks for human consumption. This is also important information for use in your own home especially when preparing foods and drinks for young children.
If you are using a bottle for expressed breast milk or feeding your infant formula, it is important to follow a few important safety steps to ensure you don’t contaminate through illness or unclean habits ensuring everything that your baby eats and drinks is kept safe.
One of the most important first steps is to make sure that you wash your hands with soap and dry your hands thoroughly before touching feeding equipment or making up a feed. Make sure you have adequately sterilised all parts of the feeding equipment before reusing for the next feed.
It is important to clean and disinfect all surfaces before using sterilised equipment. Formula powder is not sterile and when made up it can provide an ideal place for bacteria to grow. The water from the kitchen tap is safe for us to drink however infants can be susceptible to small amounts of bacteria. Using boiled water of at least 70°C , then cooled to make up the feed will reduce the risk of your baby becoming unwell with infections especially those causing diarrhoea. Any harmful bacteria present will be killed at this temperature.
Only make up one feed at a time as the risk of bacteria growing in formula increases with storage time, even if kept in the fridge below 5°C. To reduce the risk of injury, make sure your baby is not near the hot water when you are making up a feed.
Finally, it is essential to add the correct amount of formula to the boiled cooled water. Adding too much or too little formula powder to the measured amount of water can cause your baby to become ill. Excess powder makes the formula too concentrated and can cause dehydration and too little powder will mean your baby will not get enough nutrients.
Follow all instructions carefully ensures the safe preparation of your infants food and drinks.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide information and evidence based advice on eating for health and wellbeing. There are 5 guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence, describing the best approach to eating for a long and healthy life.
Guideline number 5 is focussed on food safety and states ‘Care for your food, prepare and store it safely’.
Taking precautions to prepare and cook your food safely for you and your child is important in preventing illness. All food for human consumption needs to be stored, handled and cooked carefully and at temperatures that avoid the spread and growth of harmful bacteria that can make you sick.
There are 4 main areas of focus when it comes to food safety:
1. Cooking and cooling food
Cooking food properly and to the right temperature reduces the risk of food poisoning. Meats should be cooked all the way through, until the juices run clear and food should be kept steaming hot until served. Reheat foods only once and make sure all parts are again steaming hot. When ready to serve make sure the temperature is appropriate for your little one.
2. Food storage
Leftovers should be cooled quickly, covered and stored in the fridge or freezer, and refrigerated leftovers should be consumed in 1-2 days. Food stored cold needs to be kept at or below 5°C to prevent the growth of nasty bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Frozen food should be kept at -15°C or colder. The temperature danger zone for food safety is between 5°C and 60°C. Bacteria can’t grow easily at temperatures outside of this zone.
3. Avoiding contamination
Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria is transferred from one food to another, such as from raw food to cooked food that is ready to be eaten. This can be from hands, cutting boards or by cutlery, spoons or tongs. Have uniquely coloured chopping boards for raw and cooked foods.
Avoid cross-contamination in the fridge by storing raw and cooked foods separately in covered containers, put raw foods on a lower shelf ( such as meats that are thawing) to make sure nothing can drip onto already prepared foods . Always prepare raw and cooked food separately.
4. Washing your hands
It may seem simple however washing and drying hands properly is one of the most important steps ensuring food safety especially when preparing your child’s food. Bacteria from nose blowing, trips to the toilet, touching raw foods including eggs, meat and vegetables with soil on them and bacteria from wet hands can be transferred to foods ready to be eaten.
Safe preparation, use and storage of infant formula is of utmost importance for the health and wellbeing of babies and toddlers. All preparation of bottles, mixing of formula and instructions for storage are clearly listed on the label of all Farmers Beta A2 infant formulas and Nutritional Toddler milk. Similarly clear directions for preparation and storage are outlined on all products in the Farmers Beta A2 Family Nutrition Range.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is the national body responsible for developing standards relating to the composition of foods, labelling, hygiene and production, food safety, premarket regulation requirements and nutrition standards. With such a large variety of products stocked on our shelves, it’s important to recognise that nutrient content claims and health claims are voluntary statements made by the manufacturer in order to help with promoting the product to consumers.
New regulations set by FSANZ requires food businesses to provide scientific evidence to verify any health claims stated on labels and in any forms of advertisement. Additionally, health claims are only permitted on foods that meet a nutrient profiling scoring criterion (NPSC). This restricts manufacturers producing foods high in saturated fat, sugar or sodium from making health claims on their products.
Certain restrictions exist whereby health and nutrient content claims cannot be used to advertise the following:
- Infant formula products (0-12 months)
- Foods containing over 1.5% alcohol by volume
- Foods claiming to be involved in the prevention, diagnosis, cure or alleviation of a disease, disorder or condition
- Foods comparing vitamin or mineral content with another food.
Nutrient content claims, for example “low in fat”, or “good source of calcium” must meet certain criteria published by FSANZ, in order to meet the amounts of that nutrient to justify that statement. Additionally, nutrient content claims can include statements about particular properties of that food, such as, stating that the food is high in gluten, or contains folic acid.
Health content claims can be divided into two sub groups as set by FSANZ; General level health claims and high level health claims.
General level health claims refer to a nutrient or substance in a food, or the food itself and its effect on health; for example, contains calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Manufacturers cannot refer to disease such as ‘will decrease your risk of osteoporosis’.
On the other hand, high level health claims refer to the nutrient, substance or the food itself and the relationship it has to a serious disease. For example, diets high in calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in people 65 years and over. Like general level health claims, these relationships must be approved by FSANZ. Federal, state and territory agencies are in place to enforce the correct regulation of health claims to benefit the consumer.
The term ‘Genetically Modified’ or GM includes genetically modified organisms (GMO) and Genetically Modified Foods (GMF). The latter are foods and ingredients which also include food additives and processing agents that have been produced using gene technology to change the DNA or protein, so that the chemical sequence or structure differs from the original food. The food or ingredient must be then listed as ‘genetically modified’.
Genetic modification, although deemed safe does make some consumers wary and many look to food labelling to ensure that they are ‘as nature intended’.
All Genetically Modified foods and ingredients must undergo a safety assessment and be approved before they can be sold in Australia and New Zealand. Labelling a food as genetically modified is not about compromising its safety, rather it is about helping consumers make informed choices about the foods they buy.
‘GM free’ and ‘non-GM’ claims are made voluntarily by food manufacturers. There are laws in place that prohibit false, misleading or deceptive information about the foods and their genetic makeup.
The main sources of genetically modified foods in Australia are:
- Imported GM soya – can be found in a wide range of foods including chocolate, potato chips, margarine, mayonnaise, biscuits and bread
- Cottonseed oil made from GM cotton – used by the food industry in Australia for frying and also an ingredient in mayonnaise and salad dressings
- Imported GM corn – can be found as an ingredient in imported foods such as breakfast cereals, bread, corn chips, gravy mixes, corn oil, corn flour and corn syrup
- Imported GM sugar beet – sometimes used to produce sugar.
All our Farmers Beta A2 products, are free from genetic modification, the cows and their milk, along with all our additional nourishing ingredients which make up our Family Nutrition formulas including our Nutritional A2 Protein Toddler milk…. Simply GM free!!