Dairy Industry Launches 'Action Johne's Initiative'

The dairy industry is joining forces to launch its Action Johne’s Initiative, which will help manage and reduce the incidence of Johne’s disease in dairy cattle

The Initiative, developed by the Action Group on Johne’s, aims at engaging 80% of dairy farmers in Great Britain in credible and robust Johne’s management activities by October 2016.

The Initiative will implement the requirements of the National Johne’s Management Plan, and will be delivered by the newly established Action Johne’s Delivery Team, a consortium of SAC Consulting, a division of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and RAFT Solutions Ltd., jointly funded by DairyCo and milk purchasers.

Lyndon Edwards, Chairman of the Action Group on Johne’s and of the Dairy UK Farmers Forum, said: “The industry-wide consultation of the draft project made it clear that the dairy industry wants to work together to tackle this disease. International experience has shown that if a rigorous control program is instituted and applied robustly, Johne’s disease can be brought under control. This is confirmed by my own personal experience as a dairy farmer who has been successfully managing the disease on my farm for seven years. I’m pleased that all major stakeholders have come together to support this initiative which should deliver lasting benefits to the industry.”

Derek Armstrong, DairyCo programme manager for endemic diseases, said: “We are funding the Action Johne’s Initiative because we are confident it will generate significant commercial gains to dairy farmers through healthier and more productive animals. Johne’s has a major impact on industry profitability but can be managed in a cost effective manner. The initiative will also demonstrate the industry’s commitment to improving standards of animal welfare.”

Rob Harrison, NFU Dairy Board Chairman, said: “It is vitally important that as an industry, we manage Johne’s disease if we are to remain competitive and have a sustainable future for the dairy sector. There are huge potential cost benefits to be had by getting on top of this disease and we welcome the introduction of this initiative.”  

Dr Hazel Wright, FUW Senior Policy Officer, said: “The Union recognises the importance of tackling this costly disease and has engaged in the development of this initiative in order to give voice to the perspectives and needs of farmers in Wales.  The Union will continue to remain involved in order to ensure that the maximum benefits of this valuable initiative are provided to Wales.”

NFU Scotland’s Animal Health and Welfare Policy Manager, Penny Johnston said: “While Johne’s is a difficult disease to tackle, this unified approach across the dairy sector is welcome and provides an excellent platform to make serious inroads into its incidence. At farm level, we need to lift the stigma attached to infection and offer support and advice to any affected producers so they have a clear route to removing the disease from their stock.”

Speaking about the requirements of Action Johne’s Initiative, Mr Edwards added: “What we are asking of farmers in phase 1 is initially very modest. We just want them to assess the risks of entry, presence and spread of MAP infection in their herd and determine their Johne’s risk and status by March 2016. By October 2016 we want them to have implemented in consultation with their vet one of the six control strategies developed by the Action Group on Johne’s. We’ll then review the plan and determine how it should be taken forward in phase 2.

“The initiative is a cross industry collaborative exercise that requires the support and engagement of all stakeholders in the journey we are about to embark upon and I thank them all for their support.”

Sophie Throup of RAFT Solutions, who will co-ordinate the delivery team and work alongside SAC Consulting, said: “Our job will be to help educate farmers about the disease and the feasibility of its control; ensure consistent, coherent and technically sound advice is available to vets, farmers and farm advisors, and build the foundations for a more coherent approach in dealing with Johne’s. We are looking forward to working in partnership with the industry and getting involved”


Action Group on Johne’s
The Action Johne’s Initiative has been developed by the Action Group on Johne’s, which is an open forum for industry stakeholders interested in tackling Johne’s. The Action Group on Johne’s is chaired by Lyndon Edwards, a dairy farmer from Gloucester, who is also a Director of OMSCo and Chairman of Dairy UK’s Farmers’ Forum. The secretariat support to the Action Group on Johne’s is provided by Dairy UK. More information at www.actionjohnesuk.org.

National Johne’s Management Plan
The Action Johne’s Initiative constitutes the active implementation of the requirements of the National Johne’s Management Plan, which was developed by the Action Group on Johne’s, unveiled in November 2014 for industry consultation which closed in February 2015.

Delivery of Action Johne’s
Funding for the Action Johne’s Initiative will be provided by DairyCo and matched in total by an equal contribution from individual milk purchasers, both co-op and private. The Action Johne’s Delivery Team consists of a consortium of SAC Consulting and RAFT Solutions Ltd and XLVets. The team were appointed through their experience in delivering the Paraban project, recent Defra RDPE Johne’s training, in put to the UK Cattle Expert Group and the expertise of George Gunn, George Caldow, Colin Mason, David Black, Johnathan Statham and Alastair Hayton, all of whom will be involved in the project.

Categories: 2015


Dairy UK Welcomes New Report on the Impact of Physical Activity and Diet on Health

Dairy UK has welcomed the publication of the Impact of Physical Activity and Diet on Health report by the Health Select Committee and said it hoped it would provide further impetus to Government on the need to raise awareness on the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said: "The issue of obesity is of crucial importance in the UK, with two thirds of the adult population overweight or obese, and must be addressed through preventative measures, including the improvement of the communications around healthy eating and lifestyle. The report reflects many of the points made by Dairy UK in the past years and it is encouraging to see that politicians are recognising that the impact of diet and physical activity on health is complex and multi-faceted.

“A healthy and balanced diet is essential in reducing the risk of obesity and disease. Making simple alterations to our diet and lifestyle can impact greatly on our bodies and our long term health. It is known that adding even small amounts of dairy foods to the diet can improve overall diet quality.”

“In our submission to the Committee, we highlighted that milk can play a key role as a healthy choice pre- and post-exercise as it contains nutrients that are essential to people of all ages, and are particularly important for those engaged in all levels of sport and physical activity.”

“Although there are no health claims on the EU register for milk and sport, it must be recognised that there is a significant body of scientific evidence which shows that milk can help with rehydration, protein synthesis and muscle mass increase. There is a move worldwide to ensure that diets are based on foods that are nutrient rich rather than those which provide a lot of energy but little in the way of nutrition. Milk is a naturally nutrient rich food.” 

Categories: 2015


Dairy UK and RABDF Welcome APPG Report on Sustainable Dairy Industry

Dairy UK and the RABDF welcomed a new report launched by the Dairy All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which outlines recommendations to ensure a sustainable and competitive future for the British dairy industry.

Following a thorough enquiry, the Dairy APPG report entitled ‘The Sustainable Competitiveness of the British Dairy Industry’, recognises that volatility is one of the greatest challenges facing the British dairy industry today and outlines a number of steps the Government can take to support the future of the industry.

Recommendations include an immediate review of intervention prices by the European Commission, the development of futures markets and the development of export opportunities as well mandatory Country of Origin Labelling. The report also stresses the importance of addressing misconceptions around dairy and promoting the economic and nutritional benefits of dairy. 

Billy Keane, Chairman of Dairy UK, said: “Dairy UK welcomes this report which recognises some of the crucial steps that the Government need to take to support one of the UK’s most essential industries. The industry has been going through some difficult times since last summer but we are confident that things will improve over the course of the year. Collaborative work throughout the dairy supply chain will be key to ensuring a sustainable and competitive future for British dairy. 

“It is important to recognise that the industry has taken some significant strides, for instance in terms of animal health and welfare, environmental initiatives and supply chain integrity. It is also crucial that we address misconceptions about dairy, especially from a nutritional point of view and really focus on educating people about how nutrient-rich milk and dairy products are.

“A sustainable industry is one that balances a number of concerns, such as profitability, productivity and environmental issues, and therefore we hope that the findings in this report will help Parliament and Government to support the future of the British dairy industry.”

Ian Macalpine, Chairman of the RABDF, said: “We have been very encouraged by the positive responses delivered by a range of experts at our evidence sessions whilst compiling this report. While they unanimously agreed we should be aware that the current down turn in milk prices trends maybe repeated, their long term prognosis was very positive - from increasing demand for farm skills training to the growing role dairy products play as part of a healthy and balanced diet. The dairy sector is by all accounts moving in a promising direction.

“The industry has changed beyond recognition in the last two decades to one which is now in a very favourable position to face the challenges of the global market place. However as the report infers, we need the whole dairy supply chain to work together, from Government giving its support and accepting its responsibilities, to retailers offering a realistic price for milk because all evidence shows that consumers value milk and dairy produce and are subsequently prepared to pay more, which in turn will result in the necessary profitability dairy producers need for a sustainable farming business.”

The Dairy APPG, which gathers evidence from a range of experts in the field, was revived in 2014 with the intention of encouraging informed debate on the British dairy industry in Parliament, in addition to supporting the development of a sustainable and profitable dairy industry in the UK.

The report is available for download here

Categories: 2015


Dairy UK Launches General Election Manifesto to Drive Industry Interests Forward

Dairy UK has launched its Manifesto for the British dairy industry, setting out what the industry expects of the main political parties as they prepare to fight the forthcoming general election in May.

The Manifesto aims to provide the next government with a blueprint for tackling the major challenges in the dairy sector. To ensure a sustainable and competitive future for the dairy industry, the Manifesto highlights that the industry needs the Government’s support to:

  • Promote British milk and dairy as nutrient-rich foods in a haealthy and balanced diet;
  • Maintain a safe and secure dairy supply chain in the UK;
  • Guarantee an environment which facilitates growth and development in the industry.

Billy Keane, Chairman of Dairy UK, said: “Our industry is a UK success story. It employs in the region of 80,000 people and the capital investment by leading dairy companies has more than doubled over the last decade. There are, however, a number of ways in which the Government can step up support for British dairy products.

 “It is important that the Government recognises the nutritional qualities of dairy and encourages consumers to buy British. We would also like Government to consider measures aimed at easing the burden of red tape around exports, such as creating a one-stop shop for export health certification, in addition to minimising the burden of regulation through sympathetic planning laws and encouraging competitive energy costs.”

Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said: “Dairy is vital to Britain’s economy, environment and diet and therefore it is clearly within the Government’s interest to ensure that the industry is well-supported. This Manifesto will provide the new Government with all the information it needs to make the right decisions on behalf of the dairy industry.” 

The Manifesto is available for download here. Printed copies are available upon request. 

Categories: 2015


Nutrient Benefits of Butter and Dairy Stand the Test of Time

Following publication of a review of public health guidelines from the 1980s that recommended consumers reduce consumption of full-fat milk and butter, Dr Anne Mullen, Director of Nutrition at The Dairy Council issued the following statement.

She said: "Butter and full-fat milk are nutrient-rich products that have been consumed as part of diet for many hundreds of years. Public guidelines should be clear, recognisable and achievable. It is more important to look at the science-based evidence over many years, rather than individual studies, and there is a very strong body of evidence to demonstrate the nutritional qualities of dairy products. They have stood the test of time well.

"An excess in consumption of saturated fat contained in any foods would not be a good, balanced diet but the reality is that anyone putting butter on their toast in the morning or drinking full-fat milk - unless they have a particular medical condition - can do so in the knowledge that these are nutritionally sound products. The overarching issue in terms of saturated fat is the amount rather than the existence of it in a particular product."

Categories: 2015


Dairy UK Statement on the Dairy Westminster Hall Debate

Commenting on today’s Westminster Hall debate on the dairy industry, Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said:

“The ongoing commitment of parliamentarians is important to ensure a sustainable future for the British dairy industry and it is right that they should take a keen interest in the current challenges facing the industry. It is crucial that these debates should acknowledge current difficulties but also make constructive recommendations and recognise the long term positive prospects of the industry.

“The UK dairy industry is fully exposed to global market developments and this will remain a challenge for the industry. But there can be no expectation that volatile markets will always cover the full costs of production which can vary greatly from farm to farm due to a number of factors.

“Therefore, we welcome the support of parliamentarians for our call and that of our industry colleagues to review intervention prices at EU level as the current intervention price is too low to prevent the needless loss of productive capacity. We have worked closely with the Dairy All-Party Parliamentary Group to lobby the European Commission on this subject and we will keep pushing for this fundamental emergency measure. Looking forward, we will keep working with parliamentarians through the Dairy APPG chaired by Neil Parish MP and other platforms on ways to help the industry, including strong support for country of origin labelling, encouraging the Government to procure British dairy products, gaining recognition for the safe, nutritious and sustainable foods we represent and engaging with Defra and the UKTI on market access.

“Last but not least, we will continue to strengthen our efforts to promote milk and dairy. The Dairy Council and the Milk Marketing Forum have already done a tremendous amount of work over the years to promote milk and dairy foods to consumers, health professionals and the media and we look forward to developing new initiatives with our industry partners.”

Categories: 2015


The Milk Race Returns - with the Dairy Industry Cheering it on!

The iconic UK cycling event, The Milk Race, will return to Nottingham this year in May.

The Dairy Council and DairyCo are delighted to announce they will jointly sponsor the legendary race.

This year’s Milk Race will be the third year in succession the event has been run following its return to the cycling calendar in 2013.

Some of the best know names in cycling have competed in The Milk Race since its return including Katie Archibald, Graham Briggs, Dani King, Felix English, Ed Clancy and Dame Sarah Storey.

The Milk Race has attracted huge crowds since its return and this year will again be run as a major city centre race.

The exciting line-up for this year’s race will be announced over forthcoming weeks as well as details of how the event will be used to showcase the nutritional qualities of dairy products – which have been recognised by many leading sportsmen and women who consume them as part of their training programmes.

Sandy Wilkie, chairman of The Dairy Council, said: “We are delighted to be working with DairyCo to once again bring The Milk Race back to Nottingham.

“It is a tremendous event and is very much part of Britain’s sporting heritage. The fact that the race attracts the very best of cyclists speaks volumes for their commitment to it.

“In a year which has been difficult for dairy farmers and dairy companies across the UK,  it is gratifying to see the industry united in promoting great dairy products and British dairying in a setting that is a perfect combination of a fun family day out and serious sporting activity.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the industry to highlight the fact that dairy foods are naturally nutrient rich and the nutrients they provide are important for all age groups.”

Gwyn Jones, DairyCo Chairman, said: “DairyCo is delighted to jointly sponsor this year’s Milk Race in Nottingham later this year.

“Sport requires commitment, enthusiasm and huge energy from the competitors which is something dairy farmers know and appreciate as they go about their work in producing nutritious milk and the other dairy products millions of us enjoy every day.

“The Milk Race is a popular family event in the cycling calendar and represents a good fit with DairyCo’s strategy to promote the role dairy farmers play in producing delicious milk which is an important element in many people’s diets."

Categories: 2015


Dairy UK Welcomes Efra Report on Dairy Industry

Following publication of a report on dairy prices by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Dr Judith Bryans, Dairy UK Chief Executive, said:
“There are a number of important findings in this report that will be welcomed by the dairy industry.
“The committee clearly recognised the fact that the main driver for the downturn in milk prices is volatility in global markets and there should be greater promotion of UK dairy produce.
“In particular, we support the committee’s recommendation that Defra explore practical steps to help the export of UK dairy products, and there are clearly identifiable areas where government can help, such as the simplification of export documentation and the funding of foreign inspection visits. We also believe that longer-term country of origin labelling will be of benefit to the industry and to the British consumer.
“We agree with the committee that the industry’s future lies largely in its own hands and its development is the most effective mechanism to protect farmers from price volatility. However, as present private mechanisms to help smooth volatility are not well developed, we asked for and strongly support the recommendation that Defra seek a commitment from the EC to review the intervention price for milk. Longer term, the industry will of course continue to examine commercial solutions that may be able to deliver greater stability and predictability for farmers.
“The committee has recognised that no statutory or voluntary code of practice can regulate milk price in an open market. We are pleased the committee believes the voluntary code of practice should remain voluntary and also welcome recognition that the code does not, and cannot, influence prices.
“We understand the committee’s recommendation on the development of producer organisations is interesting. We recognise that they could be of benefit to farmers going forward, but  in those countries where producer groups exist, there is little evidence that they have been able to protect farmers from price volatility.
“We do not believe that extending the powers of the Grocery Code Adjudicator would help to address the challenge of volatility, and contractual relationships between farmers and processors that are already covered by the voluntary code.”

Categories: 2015


Dairy Industry Needs Unstinting Support of Government, Says Dairy UK Chairman

The UK dairy industry will need unstinting support of Government during 2015 if it is to realise its full potential and successfully overcome the effects of the current market volatility, Dairy UK Chairman Billy Keane said today in his forecast for the year ahead.

Mr Keane also stated that it is imperative that the industry works together constructively in order to forge a successful future.

He said: “Difficult global market conditions are set to continue for several months before the situation gets better. The challenges faced by the UK dairy industry in 2014 will continue into 2015 affecting both farmers and processors so it is imperative that we work together.

“The UK dairy industry has a strong long-term future to look forward to but to ensure it’s in a position to take full advantage of the opportunities that will arise, it will need all the help it can get from Government.

“Dairy UK will be publishing its own manifesto soon setting out what the industry expects of the main political parties as they prepare to fight the forthcoming general election in May.

“Ahead of that, my message to political parties is fundamentally that Governments at European and national level can make a difference and do a lot to help one of the UK’s great industries.

“At the top of the list of things we would like Government to focus on is to step up the support for British dairy products – recognising their nutritional qualities and encouraging consumers to buy our products.

“Our industry is a UK success story employing a large number of people across the supply chain. The capital investment by the leading dairy companies has more than doubled over the last decade from £105 million to £265 million. There has also been substantial investment on dairy farms.

“The latest Dairy UK Environmental Benchmarking Report showed that dairy processors have achieved an 8% increase in energy efficiency since 2008, meaning they are on track to meet the Climate Change Agreements and Dairy Roadmap 2020 targets. We know that dairy farmers are also making significant strides forward in making in the environmental arena.

“Animal health and welfare is important to farmers, processors and consumers alike. Johne’s disease places a significant financial burden on the industry. The Action Group on Johne’s will strive to take the industry forward with the launch of a new management plan in the spring.

“At Dairy UK, we take great pride in our industry and in 2015 we will be bringing the European dairy industry to our shores to showcase its potential post quota. We fully recognise that 2015 will be an eventful year for dairy and we looking forward to working constructively with Government and dairy farming representatives to ensure that the industry prevail and succeed in these challenging times.”

Categories: 2015


Dairy UK Gives Evidence to Efra Select Committee Inquiry

The Government has a key role to play in helping the dairy industry meet the formidable challenges it is facing, Dairy UK told MPs today.

Appearing before the Efra Select Committee, Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said:

“The UK dairy industry is going through extremely challenging times. These difficulties are likely to continue in the coming months and market conditions will get tougher before they get better.

“These conditions are affecting farmers and processors alike and there is no element of the dairy supply chain that is insulated. Price volatility is the result of an oversupplied global dairy market and poses a severe challenge with tight margins and reduced profits.”

In its evidence to the committee, Dairy UK said that long-term prospects for the industry remain positive and there are steps that can be taken to help in the short and medium term.

Intervention at EU level may be necessary in 2015. Other long term-measures that the Government can help with include minimizing the burden of regulation e.g. sympathetic planning laws; competitive energy costs; supporting the promotion of dairy products; and supporting the actions of the industry with regard to exports.

Dr Bryans added: “The dairy industry needs all the support it can get from the Government to protect existing export markets and develop new ones. We would welcome measures aiming at easing the burden of red tape around exports, such as creating a one-stop shop for export health certification.”

Categories: 2014


Significant Environmental Strides for the UK Dairy Industry

New research shows that the UK Dairy industry has made significant environmental strides over the last six years.

Preliminary results from the 2014 Dairy UK Environmental Benchmarking Report shows that dairy processors have achieved an 8% increase in energy efficiency since 2008, meaning they are on track to meet the Climate Change Agreements and Dairy Roadmap 2020 targets of 13.6% and 15% respectively.

The report also details the significant progress made in waste management. Processors attained a 74% reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill per tonne of milk input and demonstrated an impressive 176% increase in the amount of waste recycled or recovered per tonne of milk input.

This report demonstrates that the industry is committed to environmental improvements and charts progress towards Dairy Roadmap targets. The preliminary results cover a five-year period from 2008 to 2013 and show outstanding progress in a short period of time.

Joanna Stewart, Environmental Manager of Dairy UK, said: “The report sends a very positive message and reiterates the UK dairy industry’s commitment to tackling the environmental challenges of food production.

“The tool is a valuable resource for processors to track their performance and identify areas for improvement. These results show that the UK dairy processing sector is on track to meet its Dairy Roadmap targets and processors will continue to make every effort to reach the next step.”

The main findings of the 2014 benchmarking report are:

  • An 8% increase in energy efficiency
  • A 10.5% decrease in water use per tonne milk input
  • A 6% decrease in effluent* loads per tonne milk input
  • A 15% decrease in COD**(Chemical Oxygen Demand) loads per tonne milk input
  • A 74% decrease in waste to landfill per tonne milk input
  • A 176% increase in waste recycled/recovered per tonne milk input

*discharge of liquid waste from processing site
**the pollution levels in effluent

Categories: 2014


Draft National Johne’s Management Programme for Dairy Cattle Launched in Worcester

The Action Group on Johne’s launched today a draft National Johne’s Management Programme at a conference hosted by Dairy UK and DairyCo.
The objective of the plan is to manage and then reduce the incidence of Johne’s disease in dairy cattle and engage dairy farmers in Great Britain in credible and robust Johne’s management activities.
Commenting on the draft plan, Lyndon Edwards, Chair of the Action Group on Johne’s, said:
“International experience demonstrates that control and the reduction of Johne’s in dairy cattle is feasible and can be delivered cost effectively. The UK needs to ensure that its performance in tackling the disease is comparable to its main international competitors.
“We have a responsibility as an industry to identify and use every tool available to reduce Johne’s in dairy cattle. We must focus on educating farmers, vets and farm advisors on the risks linked to the disease and develop a coherent and structured way to deal with it.
“We can make a real difference in tackling the disease. If we want a sustainable future for our industry we need to get a grip on Johne’s. A joint approach throughout the dairy industry is the right way to go and I’m confident that the National Johne’s Management Plan will deliver robust results and help us achieve a significant reduction of the disease.”
Delegates at the ‘Johne’s – Taking the Next Steps’ conference in Worcester also heard from several experts on topics including the Irish Johne’s control programme, surveillance and testing, available science on MAP and key control strategies. A key presentation also focused on the need for state-of-the-art biosecurity measures to prevent herd contamination.
The draft Management plan is now open for consultation until 18th January with the objective of launching the plan from April next year.
The draft plan is available for download on the Action Group on Johne's website

Categories: 2014


Major Gains Can Be Made on Johne's Disease, Conference Will Be Told

Substantial gains in tackling Johne’s disease are within reach, according to dairy industry experts.

A major industry conference on Johne’s disease, hosted by Dairy UK and DairyCo is  being held on November 18th.

Speaking in advance of the conference on the 18th November, Lyndon Edwards, chairman of Johne’s Action Group said: ‘Tackling Johne’s disease is practical and deliverable. It’s not about just testing, it’s about putting in place the right management procedures suitable for your farm. With the right understanding and commitment the gains can be surprisingly quick and substantial.

“But what Johne’s shares with all major endemic infectious diseases is the need for improved biosecurity. This means that, in parallel with industry efforts to tackle TB and BVD, now is the right time to ramp up activity on Johne’s. Certainly there’d be little point in tackling other infectious diseases whilst neglecting Johne’s.

“Key to efforts for all disease control is education and understanding. That’s what the conference will help towards. We will also use it as a platform to announce a consultation on how we can put in place a more structured framework to help move the industry forwards.

“If we want a sustainable future for our industry we need to get a grip on Johne’s. There’s never a right time to start, but leaving it to tomorrow is definitely the wrong time, so I’m enthusiastic about accelerating industry efforts to tackle Johne’s, and I hope the rest of the industry wants to join us on that journey.”

To register for the conference, contact Peter Dawson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Categories: 2014


Anti-Dairy 'Experts' Failing Increasingly to Stick to the Facts

Efforts to undermine the nutritional benefits of dairy products are becoming increasingly based on ill-informed opinion which betrays a lack of scientific knowledge and understanding, The Dairy Council said today.

In recent months there have been a number of media articles and appearances by people making unfounded and inaccurate nutritional and health statements about dairy.

The latest example was published on the Daily Express website today, headlined “Is milk giving you cancer? Seven reasons to ditch dairy”.

Dr Anne Mullen, Director of Nutrition at the Dairy Council, said: “Sadly, we are seeing an increase of articles and pronouncements by so-called experts who, it is quite clear, are failing increasingly to stick to the facts about dairy.

“The dairy industry is regulated very strictly in what it can claim in terms of the health benefits of dairy. But it is not in the interests of consumers and good food safety practice for people to undermine the nutritional qualities of dairy with impunity and with scant regard to scientific evidence. It is irresponsible.”

The Dairy Council today published a response to the Express article correcting the following points.

  • Bovine Growth Hormone is not injected into cows in the UK and in the EU – this is a complete falsehood and shows a serious breach in understanding of food production and food content.
  • Studies have shown no association between milk and cheese intake and breast cancer risk, milk and dairy may be protective against breast cancer and that milk and dairy consumption have no effect on breast cancer survival. Prudently, the World Cancer Research Fund says that evidence of any connection is limited.
  • The theory that milk and dairy ‘acidify’ the body, or the ‘acid-ash hypothesis’ is scientifically defunct. Milk and dairy foods do not cause acidity in the body.
  • There is a profound misrepresentation of the degree of lactose intolerance in our population (about 5% of adults are affected) in this article, again betraying a lack of understanding of nutritional science. In people with lactose intolerance, research shows that 12g lactose (200g yogurt, 250mls milk) can be consumed per day without any effects.
  • Milk and dairy foods are not fattening unless, like other energy-providing foods, they are consumed in excess in an unbalanced diet. Health weight loss and weight control are achieved through eating a balanced diet that meets nutrient requirements and physical activity. There is little mystery to weight gain and weight loss. However, some studies have shown that including dairy foods in an energy-restricted diet may enhance weight loss.
  • There is no evidence presented in the article to support the assertion that milk is associated with acne. It certainly is imprudent to state that giving up dairy and milk is ‘the best thing you can do for your skin’ as milk and dairy products contain an array of nutrients such as riboflavin and calcium that are important for health.
  • Milk and dairy contribute 25% total energy, 34% of protein, 34% fat, 61% calcium, 64% iodine, 55% riboflavin and 63% vitamin B12, for example, to the diets of 1.5 to 3 year olds in the UK, as well as 36% calcium, 33% iodine, 28% riboflavin and 33% vitamin B12 to adults aged 19 to 64. It is reckless to fob off foods that provide so much to the nutritional health of the nation as ‘a bit weird’.

The practice of dietetics and nutrition in the UK is regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council and the Association for Nutrition, respectively.  The Dairy Council is staffed by registered dieticians and nutritionists and our remit is to provide evidence-based science on dairy and health. It is important that the public is given accurate scientific and nutritional information.

Categories: 2014


Johne’s Disease: Taking the Next Steps

Dairy UK and DairyCo are holding a major industry conference on Johne’s disease on 18th November at the Sixways Stadium in Worcester. 

The conference will bring delegates up to speed on global developments, give momentum to tackling the disease and set out the proposed framework for future industry action to control the disease. 

Lyndon Edwards, Chairman of the Action Group on Johne’s said: “Johne’s disease is a major challenge to the sustainability of the UK dairy industry, but cost effective control strategies are available. What we want to do now is ramp up industry efforts to tackle the disease.

“The conference will provide a platform for the launch of a National Johne’s Control Programme. It will be a voluntary programme based on engagement and collaboration within the dairy industry supply chain. I would urge all parties interested in tackling the disease to attend”.

The conference is overseen by the Action Group on Johne’s, which is the industry committee, supported by Dairy UK, which takes the lead on pushing forward Johne’s control in the UK. The Group consists of organisations from the dairy industry supply chain that are committed to tackling Johne’s disease. The conference will follow on from successful events held in 2009 and 2012.

International speakers at the conference include Michael Collins, University of Wisconsin, who will talk on the science and global perspectives on control strategies and Sam Strain, Programme Manager for Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland, on the Irish control programme;

To register, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Categories: 2014

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