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Plawhatch Ln
Sharpthorne
United Kingdom

01342 810201

Raw Milk

Our milk is unpasteurised and unhomogenised.  Pasteurisation is where the milk is heat-treated to destroy the bacteria, whilst homogenisation involves forcing the milk through tiny jets to break down the larger fat molecules into smaller ones.  Instead our milk goes directly from the milking through a filter and is quickly cooled and bottled.  We believe this allows the nutrients and bacteria naturally occurring in the milk to be preserved, as well as the flavour.  Being unhomogenised, the cream rises to the top of the bottle if left undisturbed.

There has been some concern over raw milk as there are potentially harmful bacteria that can be present if they are not destroyed by pasteurisation, and there have been cases of illness associated with raw milk.  However, we believe it is possible with good practices to produce raw milk that is safe for humans, as Plaw Hatch has been doing for over 30 years.  Key to this is looking after the well-being of the cows and very rigorous hygiene.

Raw milk is a highly regulated product.  We are inspected by the Food Standards Agency who take samples of our milk for microbiological testing, in addition to our own testing regime.  Raw milk must be labelled with a health warning and may only sold at the farm or a few other specifically permitted sales routes.  This is why our milk is only available from our farm shop.  Our cows are tested for bovine tuberculosis and we must maintain our status of being 'Officially TB Free' to be able to sell raw milk.

The quality of the milk can be traced all the way back to the quality of the soil.  Where the soil is healthy it will support a diverse range of nutritious plants for the cows to eat.   Feeding concentrates to cows yields more milk, but can put the rumen pH and microbiome out of balance, so we feed a grass-based diet, which is what cows have evolved to digest.  Giving the cows lots of space and reducing stress as much as possible also contributes to the quality of the milk.  We also use herbal and homeopathic medicines to support the health of the herd.

The other main aspect to maintaining the safety of the milk is hygiene.  This includes moving the cows to fresh pastures regularly and giving them fresh bedding in the Winter, so they can lay down in a clean environment, and cleaning their teats before milking.  All of the milking and bottling equipment, as well as the bottles, are cleaned thoroughly and disinfected with each use (in fact, a large proportion of our work in the dairy and milking parlour is cleaning!).

We send our milk and other dairy products regularly to a laboratory for testing for both pathogens and hygiene indicators to check our food safety practices are working well.  We also test the milk of each cow separately for its somatic cell count, which gives an indication of udder health.

And most of all, we drink raw milk daily to stay in fine fettle for farming work!

We can't tell you if raw milk is right for you, but if you have any specific questions feel free to get in touch.