Masterchef judge visits Arla megadairy for TV show

editorial image

The Arla mega dairy was the focus of a documentary this week – and received a visit from Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace.

Mr Wallace visited the dairy near Aston Clinton earlier this year to film Inside The Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made, which aired this week on BBC2.

The full milk process was shown in the hour-long programme, which began with milking at Holly Green Farm in Bledlow owned by Neil and Jane Dyson.

Mrs and Mrs Dyson are part of the Arla co-operative, an army of 13,500 farmers across Europe who own the company. The couple currently have 120 holstein fresian heffers, who are specially bred to produce milk. Mr Wallace then saw how the milk is filtered and pasteurised at the giant plant, which is one of the largest in the world.

Mr Wallace said: “I have regularly walked into a shop and just grabbed a bottle of milk, whether it is the corner shop or the supermarket.

“I never even thought about where it comes from and I just took it for granted that it was going to the there and going to be safe.

“Now I have followed the milk all the way from the cow, through every process, through all the testing, the bottling and the unbelievable amount of people and technology that makes it possible for me and you to grab a bottle of milk whenever we want.”

Arla staff including tanker driver Paula Di Silva and technician Colin Keyes showed the Masterchef star around the huge facility, and he learned more about the work that goes into making sure the milk we drink is safe. Mr Keyes explained how his job is to make sure that the 75 tankers of milk being delivered from the farms every day are safe.

He explained the process of filtering and pasteurisation, which is applied to 1.5 million litres of the white stuff every day. Around 200 people work at the Arla site, on a 24/7 rota system.

And the workforce is helped by an army of self-charging robots, which man the packing floor getting the factory’s 400 daily deliveries ready for the shops.

As part of the programme, co-presenter Cherry Healy and historian Ruth Goodman explored other aspects of the milk production process and how the industrial revolution and the invention of pasteurisation helped to make drinking milk safer than it was.

You can watch the show on the BBC iPlayer.