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Jimmy’s Farm Science Festival: The Story of Milk

18 March 2011

What do cows eat? How do we get milk from cow to breakfast table? When a cow is poorly, what happens? What's it like to milk a cow? Discover answers to all these questions and more at Jimmy's Farm this weekend where researchers from the Institute for Animal Health (an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council), which has laboratories in Berkshire and Surrey, will be demonstrating 'The Story of Milk’.

Visitors will have the opportunity to get their hands into cow foods, handle milking equipment, milk a model cow and examine it just like a vet does (plastic gloves provided!)

Professor Dave Cavanagh, Institute for Animal Health said "Milk is the ultimate convenience food: you never have to go far to buy it, it's very nutritious, and is an important ingredient in many other foods.

"We all know that milk comes from cows but this is a rare chance to hear the fascinating story of milk from the food that cows eat through to the processes that ensure we get the best quality product possible from healthy, happy cows."

The scientists will show real life examples of the bacteria and moulds that are found on our hands and visitors can examine them under a microscope.

There will also be videos running throughout the day describing the story of milk from cow to breakfast table.

The event at Jimmy's farm is part of National Science and Engineering Week and is designed to get us all excited about science in food, farming and animals. Visitors will be able to get closer to the source of our food.

Children get in free and adults pay £5 in advance or £6 on the gate (including access to the Nature Trail). For more info see:


About the Institute for Animal Health

The Institute for Animal Health, an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), is a world-leading centre of excellence for research into viruses of farm animals, principally cattle, poultry, sheep, pigs and horses. Our research extends from fundamental to applied research, from genes all the way through to animal populations. It is our belief that better control of viral diseases requires a greater understanding of how each virus causes disease, how the immune systems of the farm animals respond to infection, and how the viruses spread, including those distributed by insects and other arthropods. In this way we contribute to the development of smarter, more effective vaccines; develop more discriminatory, user-friendly diagnostics; provide diagnostic services; and give expert knowledge to guide policy makers and farmers.


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

External contact

Dave Cavanagh, IAH Press Office

tel: 01635 577241
mob: 07789 941568


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299