The UEA Catering Team purchases 66,570 litres of milk per annum, making UEA a significant local consumer. In 2016 Catering worked with the Procurement Team to put a formal milk supply contract in place, awarded to Marybelle Pur Natur Ltd, a firm operating out of Halesworth in Suffolk.
As part of the contractual arrangements, we looked at where our milk was coming from and whether the farmers were getting a fair price to ensure that we covered both ethics and carbon emissions from transportation.
The University's Catering Team can now identify exactly which farms their milk is coming from, and that the farmer is satisfied with the price we pay. This contract also lowered our costs, meeting the pillar of economic sustainability.
There are concerns globally about growing antibiotic resistance, and it is believed that antibiotic use in animals is exacerbating this issue. Whilst UEA has not been able to prohibit the use of antibiotics in cows we have sought reassurance from Marybelle about their use. Marybelle ensure that if a cow is treated with antibiotics then they are withdrawn for a minimum of 3 days. Every load of milk received by Marybelle is also tested for traces of antibiotics, and if any are found then the load is rejected.
Animal welfare is a high priority for Marybelle, their farmers are audited to the National Dairy Farms Assured Scheme (or the Red Tractor scheme).