Milk is an opaque white maternal lactation secretion. It is the very first food from a child’s mother, and a loving link between mothers and offspring. It provides the primary source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to digest other types of food. The early lactation milk is known as colostrum, and carries the mother’s antibodies to the babies. It can reduce the risk of many diseases in the babies. The exact component of raw milk varies by species, but it contains significant amounts of carbohydrate, saturated fat, protein and calcium as well as vitamin C (Taylor et al. 2002).
2.2 Milk in History and Culture
Milking has its advent in the evolution of placental mammals. While the exact time of its appearance is not known, the immediate ancestors of modern mammals were much like monotremes, including the platypus. Such animals today produce a milk-like substance from gland on the surface of their skin, but without the nipple, for their offspring to take after hatching from their eggs (Willett et al. 2003). Likewise, marsupials the closest cousin to placental mammals, produce a milk-like substance from a teat-like organ in their pouches.
Animal milk is first known to have been used as human food at the beginning of animal domestication. Cow milk was first used as human food in the Middle East. Goats and sheep were domesticated in the Middle East between 9000 and 8000 BC. Goats and sheep are ruminants:- mammals adapted to survive on a diet of dry grass, a food source otherwise useless to humans, and one that is easily stockpiled. The animals were probably first kept for meat and hides, but dairying proved to be a more efficient way of turning uncultivated grass lands into sustenance. The food value of an animal killed for meat can be matched by perhaps one year’s worth of milk from the same animal, which will keep producing milk in convenient daily portion for years. Around 7000 BC, cattle were being herded in parts of Turkey. There is evidence from the Neolithic period that people in the northern Europe, could not consume milk as they were missing the necessary genes to process lactose. Scientists claim it is more likely that genetic mutation, allowing the digestion of milk arose at some point after dairy farming began (Fesknichi et al. 2000).
The use of cheese and butter spread in Europe, parts of Asia and parts of Africa. (Anjum et al. 1999). Domestic cows, which previously existed throughout. Much of Eurasia, were then introduced to the colonies of Europe during the age of exploration.
Milk was first delivered in bottle on January 11, 1878. The day which is now remembered as ‘milk day’ is celebrated annually. The town of Harvard, lllinois also celebrates milk in the summer with a festival known as milk days. Theirs is a different tradition meant to celebrate dairy farmers in the “milk capital of the world”. The importance of milk in human culture is attested to, by numerous expressions embedded in our languages, for example “the milk of human kindness.” In ancient Greek mythology, the goddess Hera spilled her breast milk after refusing to feed Heracles, resulting in the milk way (Hancock et al. 1998).
In African and Asian developing nations, butter is traditionally made from fermented milk rather than cream. It can take several hours of churning to produce workable butter grains from fermented milk (Feskanichi et al. 2002). Holy books have also mentioned milk; the bible contains references to the land of milk and honey. (Feskanichi et al. 2002).