17th April 2018
Dear Hook and Son Raw Milk customer,
As you may be aware, only an officially TB Free herd can sell raw milk, and our herd has been an officially TB free herd for over 70 years. Raw milk farms must have their cows tested annually, we passed our most recent whole herd test in October. This month, we were hoping to sell some surplus down calving heifers, and with a buyer found, they had to be TB tested before going to their new home. However, one of these heifers was a positive reactor to the TB test. This is the day we have always feared! This morning we received notification from the Animal and Plant Health Agency to cease selling raw milk, until our herd has regained its officially TB free status again by passing two consecutive whole herd TB tests that are 60 days apart. We are absolutely certain that there is no TB in our milk for these reasons:
• The heifer that tested positive for TB calved during the week of the test, and her milk did not go into the bulk tank so did not get bottled.
• The skin test used is 80% accurate in detecting TB. By this, it is accurate in not missing TB infected animals, but about 20% of TB skin test positive reactors are ‘false positives’ and do not have TB. It means the national cost of finding the TB reactors is that 20% of them are sacrificed as not actually having TB
• We rear all our own cattle and do not buy in any cattle
• All the cows in the herd passed their TB test six months ago in October and are TB free. It is only milk from these cows that we have been selling since we passed our test last October
• TB takes at least 18 months to get into a cow’s milk from the cow first becoming infected with TB. Therefore, with our cows passing their TB test six months ago, there will not be TB in the milk
Nonetheless, by law, we must stop selling raw milk. It is with great sadness that for the moment, we must stop selling our raw milk to you. It is a massive blow that has knocked everyone here on the farm for six. It is especially devastating for us after having worked so hard to become the leading UK raw milk seller over the last ten years.
So what will we do? We will not be able to sell raw milk for the next few months until our herd is officially TB free again. The only milk we can sell for the moment, is pasteurised milk. We are hoping to install a pasteuriser next week, and hope to have pasteurised milk available for sale again after Friday 27th April at the soonest. We will keep you posted. Even though it will be pasteurised, it will still be great milk, organic, grass fed, and not homogenised…….you’ll still get your cream line on the milk! We dearly hope you will still want to buy your lovely milk from Hook and Son. More than ever, your support for our business at this time is invaluable to us. We will continue to sell our ghee and Court Lodge 1 litre pouring yoghurts via our online farm shop. We hope to shortly have additional products for sale online, and rest assured, we will be up and running selling raw milk again as soon as we can!
We will be putting updates on our newsletter that you can sign up to on our website, and will keep you posted with news from the farm.
Best wishes from Phil and Steve and everyone at Hook and Son
We are hoping to be able to supply online orders again soon.
Thank you for your patience!