Following the recent changes in the supply of milk to Monmouthshire County Council, it has emerged that the new dairy supplier to the council’s schools, care homes, leisure centres and tourist attractions has a food hygiene rating of just one out of five.

In the council’s retendering process, Monmouth supplier Raglan Dairy lost out in the bid to supply MCC to a dairy in Haverfordwest.

Totally Welsh uses milk from dairies in  Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion and boasts that “all milk is produced within a forty-mile radius of our bottling plant here in Haverfordwest.”

But before being transported to Monmouthshire, milk is taken to a processing and distribution centre in Cardiff, where a 2023 hygiene inspection saw food safety officers dissatisfied with the checks in place to ensure that food is safe to eat or had confidence that standards would be maintained saying major improvements were necessary. 

Raglan Dairy has the highest food hygiene rating of 5/5.

A food hygiene rating as low as one out of five usually reflects consistent breaches of food safety standards and a lack of staff training in basic food hygiene. 

The contract awarded to Totally Welsh was decided on a number of criteria including price and quality, which included a section on how well a company meets the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. 

Conservative Group Leader Cllr Richard John said, “Residents will be shocked to learn that Monmouthshire schools, care homes and other council services are receiving milk from a distribution centre in Cardiff that has been condemned for poor food safety standards. 

“A food hygiene rating of one out of five is a terrible score. 

“Totally Welsh’s most recent inspection, in September, concluded that improvements were necessary in every category including cleanliness, hygienic food handling and management of food safety.”

A spokesman for Monmouthshire County Council said ”we are legally required to procure our supply through a competitive process. The change in supplier is as a result of the recent changes in the procurement process. The Food Framework is a collaborative approach with 20 other Welsh public bodies and the bids were evaluated against 30 percent price and 70 percent quality.

Totally Welsh has been approached for a comment.