The story…

The popularity of raw milk

Learn language to describe…

Dairy products

Need-to-know language

dairy farmer – type of farmer who keeps cows and produces milk products

raw milk – untreated milk taken directly from the cow

pasteurised – heated for a period of time to kill bacteria

teat – the part of a female mammal’s body which milk comes through

Answer this…

How much has the demand for raw milk increased in the past five years?


Like his father and grandfather before him, Johnny Crickmore is a dairy farmer. But trying to make money from milk these days has never been harder. So at the moment, around 40% of his production is focused on raw milk sold directly to the public.

The milk we buy normally is pasteurised, heated to destroy any harmful bacteria it may contain. Producing raw milk means hygiene standards have to be high.

Jonny Crickmore, Dairy farmer

The thing you do is you want have a visual look at the milk. Make sure it’s the right colour and there’s nothing… no infection in the cow’s quarter. Secondly you would use this surgery disinfectant. That goes on the cow’s teat and then you go over it afterwards with this wood wool. And that will get the teat as clean as you could possibly get it before you put the unit on.

The past five years have seen an explosion in the demand for raw milk – a fivefold increase from around six hundred thousand litres in 2012 to more than three million last year. Now, the Food Standards Agency is undergoing a consultation looking at how the burgeoning industry should be controlled.

Dr Kevin Hargin, Food Standards Agency

Between 2015 and 2017, there were five outbreaks related to raw drinking milk and involving over 100 people and many of them were children as well. And we had quite a few hospitalisations from those outbreaks as well. So it is a risky product.

Direct farm sales mean raw drinking milk is measured not in food miles but in food feet, but it being allowed to travel further afield to shops and larger retailers remains a fair distance away.

Did you get it?

How much has the demand for raw milk increased in the past five years?

In the past five years, the demand for raw milk has increased fivefold.

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