Clean from field to fork
There's a huge cast of players required to put milk, cheese and butter in your fridge, and some may surprise you.
We all take dairy products for granted. Milk, butter and cheese are usually there in the fridge whenever you open it, but getting it there is no easy task and requires the skills and expertise of a huge range of professionals.
The UK dairy industry was worth £4.27 billion in 2013 with 13.5 billion litres of milk produced. Around half was processed into liquid milk and a quarter made into cheese. The remainder was manufactured into powders, condensed milk, butter, yoghurt and cream.
Many of the major players in the UK dairy industry are obvious such as farmers, milk transportation companies and dairy product manufacturers, but there are a huge variety of organisations supporting the supply chain from field to fork.
Central to this supporting cast of thousands is the subject of hygiene, which, as you would expect is strictly controlled in the production of foodstuffs through the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006, which differ across the four parts of the UK. These legal requirements set out the parameters of good practice for the industry and extend to all areas of production.
Weve all seen production areas containing stainless steel equipment manned by white-overall clad workers, and its obvious that hair and hands are covered at all times, but there are other hygienic considerations for the producers of dairy products.
Cows may stand on grass, but once the white stuff is on the outside of its bovine providers, the floor has to be hygienic, and thats when science, craftsmanship and experience combine to offer a solution. The right choice of flooring, drainage products, kerbing and barriers for dairy production environments isnt as simple as picking elements from a brochure, it takes a deep understanding of the environment and what it has to endure, be that hot liquids, oils and fats, even fork lift trucks. The solutions offered by flooring experts are a careful mix of practicality, wear resistance, slip resistance, cleanability, and even aesthetics as craft dairies are often open to the public.
It takes decades of experience to blend the right ingredients to make the perfect Cheshire, Cheddar, Wensleydale or Brie, and the same is true for flooring in a food production environment. So the next time you reach for the cheese, yoghurt, or a humble pint of milk, take a moment to think how it got into your fridge and the myriad experts and professionals required to get it there.
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