The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Is it natural to drink milk from another species?

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Humans have used the milk of other species (cows, goats, camels and buffalo) for thousands of years. Milk from mammals is therefore recognised worldwide as a nutritious food and 85 countries have included consumption of milk and dairy as part of their food-based dietary guidelines.

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Ideally all babies should drink breast milk and this is why breastfeeding is the best choice. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) both recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months (180 days) for optimal infant feeding. Breastfeeding babies from birth should be encouraged. At six months of age, nutritionally adequate and safe complementary feeding (solid foods) should be introduced, with continued breastfeeding being encouraged up to the age of at least two years.

Cow’s milk is recognised as a nutritious food to be included in the diet after the age of one year. In general, humans consume the milk of other species for its nutritional benefit, similar to the reason for consuming animal products such as meat or eggs.

Humans recognised the benefits of dairy consumption since the domestication of dairy animals started in the Middle East about 11 00 years ago. This practice subsequently extended to Greece, the Balkans and central Europe. Today, drinking milk from mammals such as cows, goats, camels and buffalo is practised all over the world and milk is seen as a source of many important nutrients. Milk from mammals is therefore recognised worldwide as a nutritious food and 85 countries have included consumption of milk and dairy as part of their food-based dietary guidelines.

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