The Facts About Milk

How milk is made

  • Milk production begins with the grazing of cows on the Dairy Farm
  • Cows on average are milked twice per day
  • The milk is then stored in tanks at 4°C and is transported to the dairy for processing
  • During the dairy process, milk is pasteurised, seperated, standardised and homogenised before being bottled


Pasteurisation involves heat-treating the milk to 72°C for a minimum of 25 seconds to reduce the number of bad bacteria that can make us sick


Standardisation is when the liquid milk and high fat cream are re-blended together. The amount of fat blended into the milk varies:

  • minumun of 3.5% fat for Whole Milk
  • 1.7% fat semi-skimmed (green top)
  • 0.1% far skimmed (red top)


Separation is when a large spinning force (centrifugal force) is used to seperate the high fat cream of the milk from the liquid portion


Homogenisation forces the liquid through a hole and subjects it to great pressure, resulting in the larger fat globules being broken down and dispersing evenly within the milk

How does a cow produce milk?

A dairy cow needs to give birth to a calf in order to produce milk. This chart represents a one year period. The 'dry' period is similar to an adult going on maternity leave, where the cow will rest and prepare for the birth of her calf.

Andrew says:

Calcium is important for bones and teeth. Dairy foods. are the primary provider of calcium in the UK diet. Calcium can also be found in other foods, so overall it is important to eat a healthy balanced diet.

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Milk for Teenagers

During the teenage years calcium demands are higher than in any other stage of life. Bones develop quickly, as they grow in length and density. During these years it is important to consume foods rich in calcium whilst the body completes the deposition of skeletal mass. Around 80% of the skeleton has been completed by the age of 18 years. Having a good diet provides young people with healthy bones for later in adult life. However, the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) shows that many teenagers fall short of the recommended calcium intake.

Source: The Dairy Council Milk Factsheet (2015)