Cow milk and dairy products made from desi or home-reared cows carry a premium price tag for its medicinal and health benefits.
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But how much of the cow milk and milk products sold in the markets actually contain indigenous Indian cow produce?

The National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU) has been been granted a project to identify scientific markers for standardisation of cow products sold in the market.


Funded under the Scientific Utilization through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows (SUTRA-PIC) initiative of the government of India’s department of science & technology, the three-year project has taken off with identification of indigenous cow breeds namely the Gir-Kankrej cows that have more than 90% pure gene pool for the study.

Jayrajsinh Sarvaiya, senior assistant professor at NFSU, said the research focuses on traditional panchgavya – milk, urine, dung, ghee and curd – used in Ayurveda and traditional Indian customs.

“The study focuses on three markers – genetic markers, bio markers, and chemo markers. It would provide us differentiation between other milch animals and cows, and even indigenous and other breeds of cows,” said Prof Sarvaiya.

The researchers said that the first major task is to identify the ‘pure’ breeds that work as the control samples against which the standards can be established.
Officials associated with the project said that several gaushalas in the state have been approached to identify pure Gir-Kankrej cows.

Dr J M Vyas, director general of NFSU, said the findings would provide the values which can help formulate a potential regulation to ensure that the customers for such products don’t get cheated.

Vijay Parsana, a city-based cow promoter, said that for the past few years, there has been a rise in awareness about cow products. “There is a major growth in the demand for cow products including milk, ghee, urine and dung for their health benefits. Identification of tests which can ascertain quality of cow products will go a long way in further boosting this demand surge,” he said.

Former Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog chairman Vallabh Kathiria welcomed the move to study the possibility of certifying cow milk. “Milk of indigenous cows have known antioxidant, anti-bacterial, antiviral and immunomodulatory properties. it has been our endeavour to promote products from milk of indigenous cows, and an authentic certification will only further help our cause,” he said.

Up to 65,000 dairy cows a year could be culled under plans by the Department of Agriculture as they look to ‘close the gap’ on emissions.

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