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From Grass to Glass with Fonterra

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Posted by Jessie Mclean on 16 Jul 2021
Ever picked up a bottle of fresh milk and wondered how is milk made? Here is what makes New Zealand milk good.

1. Grazing on grass

Dairy cows spend most of their time eating, sleeping, and ruminating (chewing their cud).  Cows in New Zealand spend more time on pasture than anywhere else in the world. 96% of their diet is fresh, green grass, eating about 50kg of grass every day.

2. Milking

Cows are usually milked at least twice a day – the first usually at around 4am. Milking machines mimic the action of a young calf by creating a pulsating vacuum around the teat, which causes the milk to be released from the udder. 

3. Storing Milk

Because milk is a perishable commodity, it’s collected daily and processed locally within a few hours of being collected. Farmers store milk in vats in their milking sheds. These vats keep the milk nice and cold (below 4 degrees) to keep it fresh and free from bugs. A vat can hold up to 30,000L of raw milk for a couple of days. 

4. Transporting Milk

The raw milk is collected by Fonterra tanker drivers who check to make sure the milk meets the strict food safety standards. The tanker driver inspects the milk vat to make sure the milk is cold, smells fresh and looks clean. They take a sample, which is sent to a certified lab where it’s tested to make sure it meets strict food safety standards. If a farm’s vat of milk fails to meet standards, the entire tanker load is thrown out and thoroughly cleaned. After collecting the milk, the tanker driver takes the milk to one of Fonterra’s manufacturing sites.

5. Processing Milk

Milk is picked up from multiple dairy farms before delivery to the processing plant. Immediately upon arrival, each truckload of milk is tested again to make sure it is 100% free from antibiotics and growth hormones. The milk is then pasteurised. The pasteurization process heats milk to 72 degrees for a few seconds before rapidly cooling it back down to 4 degrees to kill any low-level bacteria that might pose a risk to human health. After the milk is pasteurised, it goes through a separator which spins milk to an ultra-high speed to separate out the cream from the milk. 
Milk finally undergoes a process called homogenization, which breaks milk fat into small particles that remain evenly dispersed throughout the mil. Without homogenization, cream would rise to the top of the milk jug. After milk has been processed, the milk plant’s tank and pipes are given a full clean. 

6. Packaging Milk

Once milk has been adjusted for the desired fat percentage (such as full fat milk, trim, or skim milk) and homogenized, it’s then sent through stainless steel pipes across the processing plan to be bottled. Other milk batches are made into dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. It is then sent to supermarkets and dairies across New Zealand for Kiwis to enjoy. 

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So, there you have it – milk’s journey from the farm to your fridge.
To enquire about having milk delivered to your workplace, click here.

A typical n3 member saves 36% with Fonterra*

Please note minimum order of a full crate (18L) – order can be a selection of products. 

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