All our milk is produced on specially selected, known and audited farms in the UK and clearly labelled with the country of origin.
We sell English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish regional fresh milk. We also sell British Organic and Scottish Organic milk.
All our fresh milk comes from our pool of 38 farms which are all RSPCA Assured
and produced in accordance with our M&S Select Farm Sourcing Standards.
Our M&S Select Farm Assurance standards for fresh milk production have been developed in collaboration with suppliers, a specialist veterinary surgeon and other industry experts and NGOs. They cover criteria such as traceability and integrity, dairy and milking facilities, general hygiene, chemicals, water supplies, facilities for housing and shelter, feed and water, calf management and calving facilities, animal health and welfare, medicines and biosecurity, casualty and fallen stock, livestock transport, vermin control, environmental protection, documentation, and worker health, safety and welfare.
We prohibit dairy production systems that house cattle all year round. As a minimum we require milking cows to be provided with access to grazing for at least 100 days for at least 4 hours per day. In addition, our farmers are encouraged to provide pasture access whenever weather conditions permit and the welfare of the cows is not compromised. Many of our farmers exceed our minimum grazing requirement.
All housing allows ample room and bedding for the cattle to move around freely, with access to fresh water, natural light and air. Housing must be of sufficient size to allow appropriate group sizes and stocking densities as determined by type of stock, age, size and social groupings.
We do not permit the use of antibiotics for growth promotion. Where veterinary medicines are administered due to ill health strict withdrawal periods are met to ensure no traces of the medicine remain in the milk. None of our farms are permitted to administer growth-promoting hormones which are illegal in the EU.
In 2020 we have also introduced the requirement that all calves must be able to have sight and contact of another calf from birth, bu then be paired or group housed post 21 days of age.
Our milk producers are required to participate in Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) control programmes (if available) and must compile a Johne’s disease control plan in conjunction with their vet.
All feed should be sourced from a verifiable approved source (e.g. AIC Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS) or Feed Material Assurance Scheme (FEMAS)) which also meets our specification.
Our milk producers are also required to meet our Milk Pledge Plus sustainability requirements. Producers must be willing to undertake a regular carbon footprint of their dairy operation. Any farm may be removed from the pool if there is potential for M&S’s brand integrity to be compromised or there is a significant risk to animal health or welfare.
Farms producing milk for M&S organic milk must comply with the organic standards for milk laid down by UK approved Certification Bodies listed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).