20
October
2017

The Role of Dairy in Teen Diets to be Discussed at Upcoming World Dairy Summit

Belfast, 19th October 2017: The crucial role that dairy can play in teenage diets will be a key debate at the forthcoming World Dairy Summit being held in Belfast later this month.

Around a fifth of teenage girls across the world are currently falling short on their recommended daily intake of calcium, iodine and riboflavin and dairy could help to fill the gap.

Whilst dairy consumption is generally on the rise, teenagers who turn away from dairy are not aware of the potential impact on long-term health.

Good nutrition is important for everyone but for teenagers is particularly important because the teen years are critical for the laying down of calcium in bone. Unfortunately, the diets of teenagers are not always good and this can have implications for the long term.

The topic of teenage nutrition and attitudes towards dairy consumption is something that will be discussed in greater detail at the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) World Dairy Summit 2017.

Internationally- renowned speakers will share their knowledge and experience in this area. Marianne Smith Edge, Dietitian and Founder AgriNutrition Edge (formerly The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, USA) will focus on understanding Gen Z attitudes and consumption patterns as a foundation for dairy consumption and innovation. Dr Moshe Mishali, Psychologist, University of Haifa, Israel will focus on behaviour change in families around diets and milk consumption.

Dr Judith Bryans, President of the IDF and Chief Executive of Dairy UK, added: “Rapid increases in height, weight, and bone development, along with a number of other physical changes during the teenage years can have a major influence on nutritional requirements, and demand for both nutrients and energy are high. The teenage diet is a challenge faced by our industry worldwide and I look forward to welcoming our renowned speakers to Belfast and learn from their expertise in this area.”

In addition to nutrition, other topics will also be discussed during the summit, including animal health and welfare, food safety, science and technology, sustainability and farm management in the dairy sector.

The summit will be hosted by the UK National Committee of the International Dairy Federation (IDF) and will take place in Belfast from 30th October to 2nd November. More information on the summit can be found here: http://idfwds2017.com/

19
October
2017

UK Signs up to Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam

The UK dairy industry today (Thursday October 19) endorsed a declaration to promote the sustainability of dairy systems worldwide.

 

The Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam, a unique partnership between the International Dairy Federation (IDF) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) signals a recognition of the dairy sector’s commitment towards feeding the world with safe, nutritious and sustainable products.

 

Leading UK dairy organisations endorsed the principles of the Declaration in an official signing in London.

 

Signing the declaration today were Dr Judith Bryans, President of the International Dairy Federation and Chief Executive of Dairy UK, Paul Vernon, Chairman of the Dairy UK, Gwyn Jones, chair of the AHDB Dairy Board and Michael Oakes, chair of the NFU Dairy Board.

 

The Dairy Declaration recognises the major contribution that dairy makes to countries’ economies, the essential role of dairy in a balanced diet, and the key role the industry plays in addressing environmental degradation and climate change.

 

Dr Judith Bryans said: “We are delighted that the UK has joined countries from across the world in demonstrating the importance of the dairy to the global community. When the UN set its Sustainable Development Goals it was clear that dairy was part of the solution in terms of ensuring delivery of a number of goals around nutrition, healthy populations, a healthy planet, and helping to lift people out of poverty.

 

“The world’s population is growing and dairy plays a key role in meeting their needs. To be fit for the future we must be innovative and ensure we have products that are culturally acceptable, nutritious, safe, sustainable and affordable.”

 

Paul Vernon, Chairman of Dairy UK, said: “We are proud that the UK as a leading dairy producing nation is endorsing the Dairy Declaration. We are an innovative industry with a deep commitment to environmental good practice and nutritional benefit. We can take pride in the fact that our nutritious products can play such an important part in meeting global sustainability and nutritional responsibilities and ambitions.”

 

Gwyn Jones said: “We’re proud to join with others around the world endorsing the Dairy Declaration, which recognises the major economic contribution that dairy makes to realising the sustainable development aspirations of farmers and wider communities.”

 

Michael Oakes said: “For the NFU the Dairy Declaration builds on the excellent work of the Sustainability Roadmap, as well as building on the social, economic and nutritional benefits of dairy, highlighting the important role it plays in rural economies around the world.”

 

The Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam was launched at the World Dairy Summit in 2016. In the last year 19 countries have signed up.

16
October
2017

Dairy UK Confirms Commitment to Industrial Decarbonisation & Energy Efficiency Action Plan

London, 16th October 2017: The Food & Drink Joint Industry - Industrial Decarbonisation and Energy Efficiency Action Plan was published recently, identifying actions which will promote long-term decarbonisation, energy efficiency and emissions reductions within the food and drink sector.

Dairy UK has pledged to continue its collaboration with Government and the wider food and drink sector to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to the decarbonisation of the UK by 2050 while maintaining the commercial viability of the food and drink sector.
 
Commenting on the publication of the action plan Dairy UK Chief Executive Judith Bryans said; “The dairy industry takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously, and so the publication of the action plan is very welcome. We look forward to continuing to work with both the government and our members to help deliver a sustainable future for the UK dairy industry.”
 
Published alongside The Clean Growth Strategy, The Action Plan builds on the cooperation between industry and governments and the publication of the Food and Drink Sector – Industrial Decarbonisation and Energy Efficiency Roadmap to 2050.
 
By identifying commitments, this action plan sets the direction for future collaboration between government and industry that will enable the food & drink sector to decarbonize and improve its energy efficiency. The Action Plan will also assist the dairy sector in meeting the ambitious energy efficiency and emissions reductions targets set out in the Dairy Roadmap for 2020 and 2025 and will provide the basis for longer-term improvements.

12
October
2017

Consumer Confidence in Dairy Foods a Key Priority

Belfast, 12th October 2017: Maintaining consumer confidence in the safety and integrity of dairy products is a key priority for the industry on a global scale.

Global demand for dairy products is rising and the popularity of nutritious dairy produce remains strong. Consumer expectations on food safety are high and food safety will be a key topic discussed in depth at the forthcoming World Dairy Summit in Belfast.

Professor Chris Elliott from Queen’s University Belfast will give the keynote speech at the dedicated Food Safety Conference taking place during the summit, which will focus on the relevance of dairy products and the challenges faced by the food sector, drawing on country-specific experience from New Zealand, China and the UK. Professor Elliott is a world-leading authority in the detection and control of chemical contaminants in agri-food and led the UK government's independent review of food systems following the 2013 Horsemeat scandal. He is currently the Director of the Institute for Global Food Safety.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Professor Elliott said: “The integrity of the global food supply system is subject to huge challenges in terms of accidental and deliberate contamination. Milk and dairy products are a huge and important source of human nutrition worldwide but are equally subject to these growing challenges.”

Dr Judith Bryans, President of the International Dairy Federation and Chief Executive of Dairy UK, added: “As a global industry, we deliver safe, wholesome and nutritious dairy foods to consumers all over the world and we are resolute in our commitment to keep doing so.

“Across the world, the dairy industry has developed exceptional standards of food safety throughout the supply chain and we will continue to invest in this to ensure that the integrity and authenticity of our products is upheld.”

In addition to food safety, other topics will also be discussed during the summit, including issues surrounding animal health and welfare, science and technology, sustainability and farm management in the dairy sector. Emerging issues such as cyber security and 3D food printing will also be discussed.

The summit will be hosted by the UK National Committee of the International Dairy Federation (IDF) and will take place in Belfast from 30th October to 2nd November.

More information on the summit can be found here: http://idfwds2017.com/

27
September
2017

Dairy UK Backs National Campaign Celebrating Milk

London, 27th September 2017: Dairy UK is celebrating World School Milk Day today by backing a nationwide initiative to get primary schools sharing their favourite thing about milk.

The purpose of the campaign, launched today by The Dairy Council, is to celebrate the nutritional benefits of drinking milk, as well as educating pupils about the important role it plays in their diet.

Schools across the country have been submitting ‘milky’ videos, photos and messages onto a dedicated ‘Milk Memo’ websitefor the chance to win outdoor sports equipment for their schools. Entries so far include milk poems, collages and a ‘milk carton’ cow.

Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, said: “Good nutrition and physical activity are key to ensuring children have healthy bodies. Milk is a nutrient rich food and a staple part of most children’s diets. Consuming milk is an easy way to help children meet their recommended daily intake of calcium.

“Schools play a vital role in ensuring children have milk to drink and helping them to understand why it’s good for them.

“The Dairy Council’s initiative is the perfect way to have a bit of fun, interact as a class, and learn about why making healthy eating and drinking choices matters.”

Erica Hocking, senior nutrition scientist at The Dairy Council, added: “We’re delighted that schools have got involved with this initiative. Milk is an easy, tasty and affordable way to help children to get their recommended daily allowance of calcium, protein and iodine, and we hope pupils have enjoyed taking part.

“Once all the entries have been sent in, The Dairy Council will select the most creative entry to win outdoor games for their class.”

In its 18th year, World School Milk Day celebrates school milk programmes globally. It is organised by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (UN FAO) and is celebrated by over 30 countries worldwide.

To view the Milk Memo, please visit: www.milkhub.uk.

22
September
2017

Dairy UK Responds to Theresa May's Speech on Brexit

London, 22nd September 2017: Proposals for a transition period and protections for the Irish border and EU citizens living in the UK are welcome, but concerns remain on EU labour and farming subsidies commented Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, earlier today. 

Dairy UK issued the following statement today in response to Prime Minister Theresa May's speech in Florence on Brexit negotiations and the future trading relationship with the European Union.

Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, commented: "We welcome Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals today to protect the common travel area of the Republic of Ireland and to protect the rights of EU citizens working in the UK.  It is of upmost importance that the dairy sector can trade with confidence and certainty, and so we welcome the proposed period of transition after Brexit. The EU is our biggest export market, and so it is vital we can continue to trade tariff-free and maintain a close and positive relationship whilst negotiations continue and beyond.

We welcome a transition period as this would provide stability. However, we also believe it is important that both the UK and EU take steps to address ongoing concerns over access to skilled and unskilled EU labour and subsidies for UK farmers once this period ends. These represent key areas of concern for the UK dairy industry.

Dairy UK will continue to represent the interests of the UK dairy sector to government throughout the negotiations to ensure our members can trade successfully, and consumers can continue to enjoy British dairy products."

14
September
2017

Dairy UK Announces Paul Vernon as new Chairman

London, 14th September 2017: Dairy UK announces Chief Executive of Glanbia Cheese, Paul Vernon as new chairman.

Paul has been elected to succeed Dr David Dobbin, at the Dairy UK Annual General Meeting held today.

Mr Vernon, who has worked with Glanbia for 22 years, said of his new role: "For me it is a huge privilege to be elected chairman of an organisation that puts itself at the forefront of representing the interests of one of the nation’s greatest industries. I am both appreciative and humbled by the support other leading figures across the supply chain have given me, in accepting this role.

"I can make one firm commitment without any hesitation, and that is that Dairy UK will spare no effort in fighting for the interests of dairy. We have massive challenges ahead of us, particularly in relation to Brexit, so there has never been a more important time to remind government and decision-makers of the relevance and importance of dairy.  Whilst Brexit might dominate the political landscape, we mustn’t forget there’s still work to do across a whole range of other key issues facing the industry, such as protecting and promoting the nutritional benefits of dairy foods.

"These are extraordinary times, but where there is challenge there is also opportunity. We must ensure our industry works to create an environment conducive to these new opportunities."

Dairy UK CEO Dr Judith Bryans welcomed Paul to the position and paid tribute to former chairman David Dobbin commenting: “The Board and the executive team at Dairy UK would like to express their thanks to David for his dedication in guiding Dairy UK and the industry forward during his period as Chair. We are lucky to be gaining another leading industry figure in Paul Vernon, to lead Dairy UK through what will be an extraordinarily busy and challenging period. Paul enjoys widespread respect and support across the industry and is an ideal successor to David."

Dr Bryans also welcomed Tomas Pietrangeli, MD of Arla Foods and Andrew McInnes, MD of Muller Milk & Ingredients, newly elected Vice-Chairs of Dairy UK; "Tomas and Andrew have a wealth of expertise and insight behind them, all of which will be important in helping Dairy UK to create a positive environment for the future of the industry.”

29
August
2017

Dairy Is Fit For The Future - But Only If We Seize The Moment Globally


The dairy industry plays a key role in feeding the world and must respond dynamically and forcefully on a global level to those who challenge its nutritional and environmental integrity according to Dr Judith Bryans, President of the International Dairy Federation.


Speaking at the China Dairy Industry Association Annual Conference held in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, Dr Bryans said increased demand for dairy products around the world is offering multiple opportunities that need to be grasped.

Dr Bryans said: "Milk is one of the most produced and valuable commodities traded globally. Day after day, dairy provides nutrition and value and as such it enriches people's lives.

"When the United Nations set in place its Sustainable Development Goals as a universal call to action it was clear that dairy was a part of the solution in terms of helping to deliver a number of these goals around nutrition, healthy people, a healthy planet, helping to lift people out of poverty and hunger and empowering females who can then empower their own families.

"So, if we are part of the solution then we must have opportunities and be ready and equipped to take them. We know the world's population is growing and will reach over 9 billion by 2050. We know that the world's demographics are changing and that soon we'll have more older people in the world than new births. We know that as people prosper their desire to consume dairy goes up.

"Dairy has a role in meeting their needs if we have the right products and ingredients and if people understand the benefits. To be fit for the future we need to continue to be innovative and make sure we have the right products available that are culturally acceptable, nutritious, safe, sustainable and affordable and delivered in a way that makes them relevant to the lives of our consumers. That will vary from country to country and continent to continent. And we must never get complacent and forget to tell consumers why we are important to them and the world.

"Dairy has long been recognised as providing high quality nutrition but the sector is now being attacked on this by anti-dairy groups and plant based alternatives. Our environmental credentials are also being questioned. As a sector, we know we have a strong case to put forward to policy makers as to why dairy farming and dairy products should form an integral part of feeding the world and helping to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It's essential that we do that at every opportunity"

Dr Bryans told the conference that there is optimism in world dairy markets at the moment but the caveat to that is that dairy markets have always experienced cyclical volatility. It can have profound effects on dairy farmers and processors alike.

She added: "We need to continue to develop a range of tools to help our dairy farmers through those difficult periods of time. "

In 2016, the FAO signed the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam with the IDF in which the FAO recognised the importance of dairy, with the IDF committing to continuous improvement, with the declaration setting out a number of principles for doing so. A number of IDF member countries have endorsed the Dairy Declaration since then. Dr Bryans congratulated the China Dairy Industry Association for being the first country to endorse the principles. The Declaration aims to underline the integrated approach that the dairy sector takes to promote the sustainability of dairy systems, taking into consideration social, economic, health and environmental dimensions.

21
August
2017

Dairy UK Statement on UK Government's 'Goods on the Market' Position Paper

21st August 2017- Dairy UK issued the following statement today in response to publication of the UK Government’s position paper on the continuity of the availability of goods for the EU and the UK.
 
Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, said: “We fully support the UK Government’s stated aim of reaching agreement with the EU in order to secure frictionless trade in goods and services. We are also pleased to see the Government has recognised the importance of agri foods in today’s position paper.
 
“Businesses need certainty around the legalities associated with ensuring they can continue to trade in goods at the point of Brexit. The EU is our biggest export market and recognition of the need for stability is welcome.
 
“Dairy is a hugely important industry to the UK and while many industries are seeking priority during complex Brexit negotiations we contend that dairy should be recognised as being fundamental to the country’s future interests given the role we play in providing safe and nutritious food to the nation.
 
“We will offer the Government every possible assistance in securing arrangements that will minimise disruption to consumers and dairy businesses and will help the UK dairy industry take advantage of the opportunities that Brexit may yield.”

26
July
2017

Cheese champion Brenda Davies recognised by British Cheese Board Award

26th July 2017- Cheese champion Brenda Davies received the British Cheese Board (BCB) Industry Award yesterday at The Nantwich Show in recognition of her invaluable contribution to the UK dairy industry.

Brenda has worked in the dairy industry for over 20 years, starting her career at Goodwin’s creamery in the labs, working her way up to the position of Quality Assurance Manager in 1995.  Since then, her career has also seen her work for Glanbia Cheese, The Cheese Company and Arla Foods, working with various cheese sites including Lockerbie, Taw Valley, Melton, Malpas & Oswestry and the Magheralin Cheese Factory in Northern Ireland, ensuring the highest quality of cheese and customer satisfaction.

Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, said: “Brenda has dedicated her career to ensuring the quality of our great British cheeses across the UK. She is widely recognised throughout the industry and her way with people has made her a firm favourite at sites. I am delighted that Brenda is being acknowledged for her dedication to the British cheese industry as she is a very worthy recipient.”

BCB spokesperson, Luisa Candido, added: “It’s great to see Brenda recognised for her lifetime commitment to British cheese. As we have seen at the Nantwich Show, our cheese industry is one of the best in the world and it is an industry the UK can be extremely proud of.”

Award-winner, Brenda Davies, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be the recipient of this year’s Cheese Industry Award. The UK produces some of the finest cheeses in the world and it is a true honour to be recognised today by my peers.”

The award was given to Brenda yesterday at The Nantwich Show, the largest international cheese show. 

22
June
2017

Champions of dairy industry honoured by Dairy UK award

London, 22nd June 2017: Two dairy champions have been recognised for their invaluable contribution to the dairy industry.

Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Simon Hoare MP are this year’s winners of the Dairy UK Award.

Commissioner Phil Hogan was honoured with the award in recognition of his unwavering commitment to supporting dairy exports and ensuring the industry is of strategic importance within Europe. The award was presented by Dr David Dobbin, Chairman of Dairy UK, during the Dairy UK Annual Dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel in London on 21st June 2017.

Simon Hoare MP most notably chairs the Dairy All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and is currently leading an inquiry into skills and labour in the British dairy industry. Simon also played an integral role in ensuring the exemption of milk-based drinks from the soft drinks industry levy last year. His award was presented by Gyles Brandreth, author, broadcaster, actor, and former Conservative MP.

Speaking at the annual industry dinner, Dr David Dobbin, Chairman of Dairy UK, said: “Both winners work tirelessly to promote the dairy industry from farm to fridge. It’s important that we have key decision makers like Commissioner Hogan and Simon Hoare MP to ensure that the industry is protected at home and abroad.

“Commissioner Hogan’s advocacy for food and farming has made a real difference, especially for farmers.

“Additionally, Simon’s proactive leadership in the Dairy APPG has helped to ensure that the interests of the industry are centre stage.”

On receiving his award, Commissioner Phil Hogan added: “I want to thank Dairy UK for this award - it is a real honour. As someone who grew up on a small dairy farm in Ireland, the industry has always been an important part of my life. The Commission will continue to stand by the sector and I will do anything in my power to support it as we move ahead.” 

Simon Hoare MP, said: “It is a pleasure and duty to speak up for, champion and encourage our vital UK dairy industry.”

22
June
2017

Dairy should be high priority in Brexit negotiations

London, 22nd June 2017: It is vitally important that the UK dairy industry is recognised and prioritised during Brexit negotiations, Dr David Dobbin, Chairman of Dairy UK, said yesterday.

Speaking at Dairy UK’s ‘Brexit and Beyond’ industry seminar in London and at the organisation’s annual dinner, Dr Dobbin said it is in the national interest for dairy to be given due prominence during the Brexit process.

He said: “The importance and relevance of dairy must not be forgotten or traded to the benefit of other sectors.”

Dr Dobbin told delegates that the dairy industry in the UK sees opportunities as well as threats in Brexit but everyone wants stability. He said the UK government and all political decision-makers must ensure that:

  • trading arrangements with the EU without tariff and non-tariff barriers are continued;
  • the relationship with the EU is clarified before negotiating free trade agreements with third countries;
  • there is continued access to skilled and unskilled labour;
  • any review of existing regulations or the introduction of new regulations will not create non-tariff barriers;
  • UK farmers are not disadvantaged compared to their European neighbours.

Dr Dobbin said: “Uncertainties around Brexit will be a problem for businesses in all sectors in the UK and the EU until negotiations take shape and the dairy industry in Europe is highly interlinked. We need transition and we need engagement.

“Now that Brexit talks are underway it has never been more important to hammer home the significance of dairy.

“We have a strong ambition to provide world class products and play a positive role in the economy, environment, nutrition and social aspects of UK life. Dairy products are found in 98% of UK homes and there are 80,000 people who work in the industry – it’s their dedication and the support of the public that makes our industry vitally important to the UK.  We are a key part of the nutritional fabric of the country.

“A bad deal for the UK would be a major problem for the domestic dairy industry and would also be a bad deal for the European dairy industry. The Government must avoid a cliff edge deal and go for lengthy transition to allow a deal to be finalised and seamlessly phased in.

“The future of dairy is bright – and can be brighter with successful negotiations.”

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, added: “The dairy industry is working hard to realise its potential. From initiatives to improve export performance, environmental impact, sustainability, and supply chain integrity, to name a few, the sector stands ready to assist the government in any way during the negotiating process. It is in the UK’s interest for the industry to emerge from Brexit as an effective, dynamic sector equipped to continue to feed the nation for generations to come.”

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has also produced an economic analysis of the potential impact of Brexit on the industry.

Oliver Hogan, director at CEBR, said: “The choices facing the UK as it enters negotiations with the EU can be thought of as a trade-off between autonomy and market access. In essence, the more rigid the UK is on its red lines, the more it can expect to have to move away from unfettered single market access, as it exists today.

“If done in the right way, many Brexit-related worries could disappear. Making this happen would require careful and tolerant negotiating behaviour on both sides, something that has been conspicuous by its absence in recent months.”

The seminar took place on Wednesday 21st June at the Royal Garden Hotel, followed by the annual industry dinner in the evening.

09
June
2017

Dairy UK Statement on General Election Result

Commenting on the results of the General Election, Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said:

"Dairy UK is committed to working constructively with Government to ensure that the importance of the British dairy industry is recognised and given due prominence in Brexit negotiations.

"The General Election result has added a further dimension of uncertainty to the situation, however, regardless of the political situation, it is imperative that the importance of dairy is recognised when negotiations begin.

"The UK dairy sector is already internationally competitive, but the UK industry has considerable potential for growth. Brexit will likely herald a range of challenges and opportunities in the UK and internationally.

"We are an industry that employs 80,000 people throughout the UK. We are an integral part of the nation's food chain, providing safe, nutritious and value for money foods that are consumed in 98% of UK households.

"The industry is already resilient. As we approach Brexit, it has never been more important to recognise the significance of dairy and the sector stands ready to assist the Government in anyway during the negotiating process. We must ensure that consumers will continue to enjoy their favourite dairy foods far into the future."

19
April
2017

Dairy UK statement on general election

London, 19th April 2017: Commenting on the announcement that the Prime Minister will hold a snap general election on 8th June, Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, said:

“As politicians have started to gear up for another general election, Dairy UK is calling on politicians across the spectrum to stand up for dairy – an industry which is vital to Britain’s economy, environment as well as the nation’s diet.

“The UK dairy industry has tremendous potential on the domestic and international stage and it is in the interests of consumers and the many thousands of people who work in the industry that we operate and produce nutritious foods in the best possible business climate.

“With Brexit negotiations ahead, there are challenges and opportunities and we hope that the UK Government and the devolved administrations remain firmly committed to vigorously supporting one of the nation’s great industries.”

31
March
2017

Shoppers, let's talk! The dairy industry fights back against false accusations

The dairy industry sent a strongly worded opinion piece to the Guardian today following the publication of a vitriolic article against alleged practices on dairy farming. Working with AHDB Dairy, the NFU, the NFUS, NFU Cyrmu, the RABDF, RUMA and the CLA, Dairy UK addressed serious concerns about false allegations peddled against the dairy industry. The full piece is expected to be published on the Guardian website in the coming days.


It takes a lot of passion and dedication to work in the dairy industry.

Rain or shine, farmers get up before dawn to care for their cows. Processors and manufacturers adhere to stringent rules to ensure that consumers can pick up a wholesome bottle of fresh milk from the shop every day. Vets will drive up to the farm in the middle of the night should a cow require urgent care.

So imagine our distress when we must fend off aggressive and gratuitous accusations which make for a good soundbite but do not stand scrutiny. Sadly, we know all too well that it is a lot easier for our detractors to use strong and empty words than to stick to the facts.

Our goals as an industry are quite simple. We want well-nourished and healthy people, healthy animals and a healthy planet. Animal welfare is paramount and we operate with some of the most robust standards across the world while always striving to surpass them.

Yet the author of "Dairy is scary. The public are waking up to the darkest part of farming" sets out to deliberately distort this.

Calf and cow welfare is at the heart of every good dairy farm in the UK. Dairy farmers want to provide the best standard of care for both the cow and the calf throughout their life, making effort to ensure the animals are healthy and prospering. The vast majority of dairy cows graze outdoors although like humans, they are grateful for shelter when the weather turns.

Hutches are seen by experts as one of the best systems of rearing young calves before they are moved into groups. They comply with all welfare requirements for animal well-being and general health and allow the all-essential social contact calves need without risk of bullying. This leads to better health and bio-security, and less antibiotic use. Done well and to a high standard, this approach is recognised worldwide as offering the best start for calves through a warm, safe and social environment with individual care.

The writer is completely misinformed about use of medicines in dairy farming in the UK and, in fact, in Europe, where no hormones or antibiotics can be given to animals to promote growth or production. These medicines are tightly controlled and any treatments must be prescribed by the farm's vet and only in the interests of the animal's health and welfare. Strict withdrawal rules for meat and milk during the period of treatment mean no traces of that medicine are able to reach the food chain.

Cows calve once a year, prompting milk production which lasts around 10 months before the cow naturally stops. This is the same for bovine animals on farms or in the wild. It's what has made cows so valuable to human nutrition for thousands of years.

Last but not least, what really matters is good management practice on farm, not the scale of the farm.

All consumers have a right to choose what they eat and should be able to do so based on correctly presented facts. As food producers, we have a duty to give the tools to make educated choices and we do so honestly and honourably.

So shoppers, let's chat! If you want to know the real truth about dairy farming, don't rely on the misinformation of someone who is intent on attacking the UK's dairy industry. Please get out there, visit a farm, talk to a farmer, ask a vet, look up how cheese or butter is made. We're proud of our industry and we're always happy to talk so people can make an informed and empowered choice next time they buy their daily pinta or favourite yogurt.

Dairy UK
AHDB Dairy
National Farmers Union
National Farmers Union Cymru
National Farmers Union Scotland
Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers
Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance
Country Land and Business Association

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