The dairy sector has criticised an article published by The Times which questioned the sustainability and nutritional credentials of cow’s milk.
In the piece published 11 September, the newspaper asked two dieticians to rate and compare popular alternatives to cow’s milk.
Listing the pros and cons to cow's milk, the article said "intensive farming has led to concerns about cows being fed antibiotics and chemicals."
The piece then proceeds to list the pros and cons of plant-based milk alternatives.
In response, the AHDB, Dairy UK and the NFU have sent a joint letter to The Times, calling out the claim regarding antibiotics as 'incorrect'.
"We were concerned and disappointed to read some of the claims made around the nutritional and sustainability credentials of whole cow’s milk," the letter reads.
"Contrary to the incorrect views expressed in the article, livestock in the UK are not routinely given antibiotics.
"Antibiotics are not fed to cows whose milk is destined for consumers and there is a stringent tracking process in place by milk processors to test for antibiotics in the milk.
"The assertion in the article that cows are fed chemicals is likewise incorrect."
The three industry groups said the UK had some of the most sustainable production methods in the world.
Dairy cows in the UK largely graze rain-fed pasture, they explained, with rainwater making up 90% of the water needed to raise livestock in the UK.
"Any sustainable food has to offer genuine nutrition and cow’s milk certainly does this. Milk is unrivalled in providing rich natural nutrition - from protein, calcium, B vitamins, iodine and more.
"It is an easy and affordable way for people to meet their daily nutrient intakes and maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
"The benefits of cow’s milk in a balanced diet are clear, as are the sustainability credentials of dairy production in the UK.
"We hope the points highlighted above provide more clarity on these matters."