The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

India’s Reverence for the Cow Poses Conflict of Interest with US Dairy Exports

Posted on June 29, 2012 by The VRG Blog Editor

by Shelby Jackson, VRG intern

According to The Indian Express news article, “India’s beef on entry of US dairy products: the cow ingredient,” by Ravish Tiwari, American dairy products are experiencing difficulties penetrating Indian markets due to India’s religious beliefs and political opinions about what types of foods cows should eat. India requires certification that the cows producing dairy exported to their country are “never fed feeds produced from internal organs, blood meal and tissues of ruminant origin.” This poses a conflict of interest, as US cattle commonly consume feed containing meat products. Attempting to resolve the issue, the US proposed the cows be fed a meatless diet thirty days leading up to the sourcing of dairy. If this were to come into effect, the US could certify that cattle were “not” fed feed containing meat, rather than “never.” Indian officials are not willing to accept the proposition. R S Sodhi, Managing Director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, claims, “ The US wants full access to our market while it denies market access to our dairy exports. They impose high tariff and non-tariff barriers. Indian cheese is made using vegetarian microbial rennet as against calf rennet and other animal rennets used in the US for cheese production.” Indian officials are seeking correspondence with political leadership to further address the issue.

1. Tiwari, R. India’s beef on entry of US dairy products: the cow ingredient. The Indian Express. 2010. Available at: Accessed June 27, 2012.

For information on Calcium Content of Popular Non-Dairy Indian Vegetarian Dishes and Ingredients see

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including the Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from companies. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted. For more information on food processing methods and food ingredients and to purchase our Guide to Food Ingredients, please visit our website at

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