We’re excited to announce that we are now providing a Collection service for Raw Milk direct from Beechenhill Organic Farm. Our contacts at The Wayfarer Institute pick up the milk on your behalf and bring it back to Birmingham ready for collection on specific Pick Up Days.
Beechenhill Farm have a producer retailer license1 that allows them to sell their milk from the farm. Because of this the milk goes through extra tests and has certain control requirements set by the Foods Standards Agency.
Food Standards Agency, Current controls: England and Wales 2
“1. The current controls on the sale of raw cows’ drinking milk in hygiene and food labelling regulations are:
a) the milk may only be sold direct to consumers by registered milk production holdings (at the farm gate or in a farmhouse catering operation) or through milk roundsmen. Sales through other outlets have been banned since 1985 (although sales by the farmer at farmers markets are allowed);
b) the supplying animals must be from a herd that is officially tuberculosis free, and either brucellosis free or officially brucellosis free;
c) the production holding, milking premises and dairy, must comply with hygiene rules;
d) the milk must bear the appropriate health warning;
e) compliance with a) to d) above is monitored by inspections twice a year; and
f) the milk is sampled and tested quarterly under the control of the Agency to monitor compliance with standards for total bacterial count and coliforms.
2. The sale of raw drinking milk from sheep, goats or buffaloes:
a) is not subject to the restriction at 1a) above;
b) raw drinking milk from buffaloes has to comply with the herd status requirement at 1b) above;
c) raw drinking milk from sheep and goats must come from animals belonging to a production holding that is either officially brucellosis free or brucellosis free;
d) raw drinking milk from these 3 species must comply with dairy hygiene rules and microbiological standards;
e) In England, raw drinking milk from sheep and goats, but not buffaloes, has to carry the health warning. In Wales, raw milk from all three species has to carry the appropriate health warning; and
f) compliance with these requirements is monitored at inspections programmed on a risk basis.
3. The sale of raw cream:
a) is not subject to the restrictions at 1a) and d) above;
b) must comply with all the requirements that apply to milk based products under dairy hygiene rules and microbiological standards;
c) must be made with milk meeting the herd status criteria described in paragraphs 1b) and 2b) and c) above;
d) raw cream is not required to carry the health warning; and
e) compliance with these requirements is, again, monitored at inspections programmed on risk.”
The regulations say that we must state the following:
To find out how to order, check our How to Order page.
Frequently Asked Questions
(Answers have been compiled from information from Terry at the Beechenhill Farm, information given on the Farm's website and information from our contact at The Wayfarer Institute)
1. Where is the Milk From?
Raw Organic milk is collected from Beechenhill Organic Farm in Ashbourne, Derbyshire which is situated in the Peak District National Park.
The farm is Soil Association Certified, a license given to the farm each year once they have evidenced that they meet their standards that cover all aspects of food production, from animal welfare and wildlife conservation, to food processing and packaging. More information about organic farming can be found on the Soil Association's website.
2. What type of cows produce the milk?
The milk is produced by Swedish Reds and Friesian Dairy Cows
3. What do the cows feed on?
The cows graze on organic pasture from Spring to Autumn and the same pasture is given as silage over winter.
4. How long has the farm had a licence for selling Raw Milk?
The farm has had a licence to provide raw milk for nearly thirty years.
5. How often is the milk tested?
The milk is Bactoscan tested every dairy collection. i.e every 2 days. More information about Bactoscan can be found here: http://www.nadis.org.uk/bulletins/mastitis-control-and-management/mastitis-part-5-bactoscan-problem-and-solutions.aspx
The milk is tested by the Food Standards Agency every three months, this is a plate count and coliform test which is the last test that is carried out to identify all the harmful bacteria usually associated with milk.
The milk is also tested by the Food Standards Agency every 6 months for tuberculosis and brucellosis.
6. Which specific pathogens are tested for?
BactoScan tests for specific bacteria:
a) Strep uberis
b) Staph aureus
c) Enterococcus faecalis
d) Pseudomonas sp.
Bactoscan also tests for more general bacteria:
The Food Standard Agency tests for:
a) Total Viable bacteria Count (TVCs)
b) Total Coliforms Count which detects how clean the milk is.
If a Bactoscan test, a Quarterly Food standards Agency test or a Tubercolosis /Brucellosis test fails, the farm must rectify issues and be re-tested before it can sell Raw Milk again.
7. If a contamination is discovered what is the farm's action plan?
Initially, if a problem arises the farm would inform all the people who collect milk from the farm about the results of a test. If we have a case of TB we would have to stop selling raw milk until we get the all clear from the Food Standards Agency. If TB is found at the annual test we would need to go through two clear tests before we could be considered free of TB. Any cow found reacting to the TB skin test is slaughtered.
We would stop selling raw milk if any problem arises that might cause problems to anyone consuming our milk. The milk here is consumed by me and my family including my two year old grandson so I would not put them at risk by using milk that may cause problems.
8. Has the farm had a contamination before? if so, when? and what was done about it?
We have not had a case of TB for although, 15 or so years ago two cows had an inconclusive test and had to be slaughtered. These were shown to be free of TB.
9. Is the milk cooled immediately?
Yes, to 1-4 degrees
10. How is the milk kept cold during transport? and while in storage?
The milk is kept under ice mats during transport. It is also kept under ice mats if stored for deliveries the following day.
11. How long will raw milk keep?
up to 7 days from day of collection from the farm if kept refrigerated. You can also freeze the milk.
12. I'm Lactose intolerant, can I drink raw milk?
Chances are good that you may. Unheated milk contains it's full complement of enzymes and lactase-producing bacteria needed by our bodies to break down and assimilate the milk sugar, lactose. These helpful bacteria are killed in the pasteurisation/ homogenisation process. Fermented milk products, such as yogurt and kefir, are naturally lower in lactose due to the actions of various Lactobacillus and other lactic acid-producing bacteria, may be better tolerated by some.3
1: Beechenhill Organic Raw Milk, http://www.beechenhill.co.uk/organicmilk.asp
2: Raw drinking milk and raw cream control requirements in the different countries of the UK, http://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/farmingfood/dairy-guidance/rawmilkcream
3: Raw Milk Facts, http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/Raw_Milk_FAQ.html
To find out how to order, check our How to Order page.
Lactose Intolerance & Raw Cows Milk
Allergy & Child Allergies to Milk