One thing we are keen to do at Marybelle is to work to inform you of what it means to be a dairy farmer, answer any questions you have and let you know the real health and life benefits of dairy products.  Below are the answers to a few of the main questions we get asked. 

If you have any other questions about cow care or the nutritional benefits our products can bring as part of a healthy, balanced diet, please get in touch.

Are we organic?

All our cows are free range (when the weather permits) so can be out on the fields between April and October. The rest of the year they have what's called a TMR (Total Mixed ration). 90% of this feed is grown on the farm with just the proteins and minerals being bought in from reputable companies near by. A nutritionist visits the farms and assesses the cows to help the farmer create the perfectly balanced diet and ensure that she has everything she needs to stay healthy and produce delicious, creamy milk!

What happens to Marybelle milk during processing?

Once the Milk is delivered to Marybelle, it is stored in a refrigerated tank, ready for processing. Our milk is pasteurised and then either homogenised or separated, depending on the sort of milk we are preparing. 

Confusing words? OK, Let’s start with:

Pasteurisation: When we pasteurise the milk at Marybelle we heat it between a series of metal plates using steam as the heat source. The milk reaches a temperature of 72ºC and is maintained at that temperature for 15 seconds. The milk is then rapidly cooled to 2ºC, and sent on its way to a sterile refrigerated storage tank. All the milk produced by Marybelle goes through this process of pasteurisation in order to remove any possibility of unwanted bacteria in the milk.

Homogenisation: This process prevents the milk from separating while it stands in your fridge. Homogenisation emulsifies the fat particles of milk into fluid milk, which prevents it from separating. Remember, even ‘full fat’ milk is more than 96% FAT FREE.

Separation: When you order you milk or pick it up at the shop, it is available in three main varieties: Whole (3.5% fat), Semi Skimmed (2.0% fat) and Skimmed (0.1% fat).  When the milk arrives at Marybelle from the farm it already contains the Whole Milk fat content of approximately 3.5%. In order to produce Semi Skimmed and Skimmed that Whole Milk must be separated to remove the relative amount of milk fat solids.

How is Marybelle milk bottled & labeled?

We have a bottling hall at Marybelle. The plastic bottling machine is extremely sophisticated, sensing how to fill the bottles to the correct level, placing a cap on top of the bottle and firmly screwing it into place. The bottle then passes through a heat sealer for the foil in the cap to be sealed to the bottle. Before leaving the conveyor belt, each bottle is labelled using an automatic labeller. Two brushes ensure that each label is smoothly applied and a light adhesive keeps it in place.

The labels are very important for several reasons, including the issued use by date. This is so our customer always receives the freshest product possible and allows us to trace where that milk has come from and gone to. We have one Marybelle team member placing the empty cartons on the conveyor at the start of the process and one taking the filled bottles off at the end. Each bottle is stacked into trolleys and stored in one of our three giant cold stores, ready for almost immediate delivery.  


What are the nutritional values of Marybelle dairy products?

For more information about the nutritional values of our products, please visit the individual product pages.


What's so important about Calcium?

Calcium is an essential mineral that we require to build and maintain strong, healthy bones. It is also essential for normal nerve function, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. Because our bodies cannot manufacture calcium, we need it in our diet throughout our lives, not just during childhood. The good news is that no matter what type of Marybelle milk you prefer - they are all tasty beverages packed with more than 300mg of calcium per 250ml serving.


What makes dairy products better sources of Calcium than other types of food?

In order for your body to use the calcium in food to maintain healthy bones it must be able to absorb the calcium. This is called the bio-availability of the calcium. Most other sources of calcium, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, contain oxalate, phytate and fibre that bind to the calcium and interfere with its absorption into our body. Generally speaking, plant-based foods usually contain less calcium than dairy products.  So, for an easy way to meet your calcium requirements, eat 2-4 servings (adults) of Marybelle dairy products every day. The calcium in milk has high bio-availability - plus it tastes great!


Does caffeine make me lose Calcium from my body?

Too much caffeine can reduce calcium absorption and increase calcium excretion from your body. If you meet recommended requirements for milk and milk products, a moderate amount of caffeine consumption is acceptable. Adults need 2-4 servings/day of milk and milk products. Marybelle milk and yoghurts are easy and delicious ways to get the calcium and nutrients you need to have strong, healthy bones throughout your life.


Are dairy products a fattening way to get Calcium?

Absolutely not! Dairy products are an important part of a balanced diet, because they provide essential vitamins and minerals in addition to calcium. If you are trying to lose weight, evaluate your overall intake of calories and choose lower fat dairy products like Marybelle skimmed milk as part of your balanced diet.


Milk and milk products contain cholesterol. Isn't cholesterol bad for you?

There are two types of cholesterol - the cholesterol in your blood and the cholesterol in food. We need some cholesterol because it is involved in brain development and the production of vitamin D in our bodies. However, if you have too much cholesterol in your blood, fatty deposits can build up in your arteries, causing heart disease. For some people, the cholesterol in food can also be a problem if they eat too much of it. The key to controlling blood cholesterol is to decrease your total intake of fat, especially saturated fats. Choose low fat dairy products and foods that are prepared with little or no fat.


What other nutrients are in Marybelle milk?

In addition to calcium and vitamin D, each glass of Marybelle milk can provide vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin A, niacin, riboflavin, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium. This is what we call real food!


Are Phosphorus and Magnesium important minerals for good health?

Milk and milk products contain several vitamins and minerals that are important for maintaining good health. Phosphorus is required for creating energy in our cells and for strengthening our bones. Magnesium is also involved in creating energy for our cells, but it is also important for controlling calcium blood levels and muscle contractions. 250ml of semi-skimmed milk can provide 22% of our daily requirement of phosphorus and 14% of our daily requirement of magnesium.


Why do I need Potassium?

Potassium is required for muscle activity and contractions. It is also involved in maintaining our body's fluid balance. If we don't have enough potassium our blood pressure can rise. Marybelle milk and most yoghurts are good sources of this important nutrient.


Why do I need Riboflavin?

Riboflavin is required by our bodies for producing energy in our cells and keeping tissues like our skin, eyes and nervous system healthy. Like calcium, riboflavin is difficult to get in necessary quantities in our food. Marybelle milk and milk products are important sources of riboflavin in our diet.  250ml of 2% milk contains 25% of our daily requirement of riboflavin.


Why do I need Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is essential for good vision and healthy skin. It is also involved in the regulation of cell growth and the effectiveness of the immune system. Marybelle milk is an excellent source of vitamin A.


What does vitamin D have to do with healthy bones?

Our bodies can not absorb the calcium and phosphorus we need for strong healthy bones and teeth without adequate vitamin D. This can lead to weak and fragile bones (osteoporosis) in later life. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, our bodies are able to manufacture vitamin D. However, our climate often prevents us from spending time outside, so vitamin D is added to milk. As one of our staple foods, milk is the best way to ensure that we get the amount of vitamin D we need. 250ml of milk contains 44% of our recommended daily intake of vitamin D.


Why do I need Zinc?

Zinc helps our bodies build protein and it is involved in increasing immune system responses. One glass of milk provides about 11% of our recommended daily intake of zinc. 


Does skimmed milk contain fewer nutrients than other types of milk?

Skimmed milk contains the same nutrients as all other milk, but less fat and calories. 

Can dairy products help to lower my blood pressure?

Recent research indicates that low fat dairy products may help to lower blood pressure. If you are watching your blood pressure, try Marybelle skimmed milk and natural yoghurts as part of your balanced diet. Consult a physician for the latest research findings and information on how they affect you.


What is Marybelle doing to reduce its Carbon Footprint?

Click the link to see our Environmental Policy


How long does a cow live for?

That depends on the cow. Our farms have had some cows live to be 14-16 years old, but this is not always the case.


Where can I find more information?

The Dairy Council is a very good source of information on all things dairy.