Glasgow & West Scotland

Gigha dairy farmers' anger over whole milk for school snub

Wee Isle Dairy whole milk Image copyright Wee Isle Dairy
Image caption Mr Dennis' dairy produces whole milk

A dairy farm has complained to the Scottish government about not being able to supply its local primary school with milk.

Emma and Don Dennis, who run the Wee Isle Dairy on Gigha, are not allowed to provide their product because it is whole milk and not semi-skimmed.

The farmers said research from Canada suggested whole milk "satisfies children's hunger better".

But guidelines say children should have skimmed or semi-skimmed only.

The school on Gigha in Argyll is supplied with semi skimmed milk produced at a dairy in central Scotland and is transported by road and then ferry, according to Mr Dennis.

The dairy on the island is about two miles from the school, which has a roll of about 20 pupils.

Mr Dennis told BBC Radio Scotland's Kaye Adams Programme that the Canadian study involving 2,700 children suggested they ate snacks after drinking skimmed milk, but did not need a snack after consuming whole milk.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Milk for the primary on Gigha is provided by a mainland dairy

He added that not being able to supply the island's school with milk did not affect his family's business, but he believed his product would offer children a healthy option.

The Dennis' dairy produces whole milk and ice cream made from whole milk. The milk is pasteurised at low temperature.

Mr Dennis said: "It tastes like the milk people drank 30 years ago.

"The rest of the industry uses high temperature, quick pasteurising, which changes the flavour of milk."

Mr Dennis said he and his family were not opposed to the production of, or consuming of, skimmed milk. He said he and his family preferred the taste of whole milk.

The Scottish government said its recommendation on milk was in the interests of children's health.

A spokeswoman said: "Semi-skimmed milk is proven to have the benefits of full-fat milk, including high levels of calcium, with much lower levels of fat.

"The Scottish government sets nutritional standards for local authorities to ensure pupils are offered balanced and nutritious food and drink in schools, this includes guidelines recommending the serving of skimmed or semi-skimmed milk only."