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Dairy Council


Some common questions about milk and dairy foods answered.

Can I freeze cheese?

Yes, it’s possible to freeze cheese. Most hard cheeses – such as cheddar – freeze well and without affecting the flavour. 

Not all cheeses do, however, especially soft cheeses such as cream cheese and cottage cheese, which can become watery and grainy in texture. Freezing can also affect the texture of some hard cheeses, making it more crumbly and harder to use. For this reason, the best use for cheese that has been frozen is usually cooking.

If you do wish to freeze cheese, for best results, you should grate it first and then store it in an airtight plastic bag.

Can I freeze milk?

Yes, it is possible to freeze milk. 

You should ensure that the milk you are freezing is within its ‘use by’ date. After defrosting the milk (in a fridge), use it within a couple of days as freezing will not prolong the milk’s life once it is back in liquid form. 

It is important to remember that milk will expand when frozen. For this reason you should never freeze milk in a glass bottle because it will crack. And don’t use the milk if the packaging it has been frozen in has split or cracked open.

Do my calcium requirements change in adulthood?

Yes. Between the age of 19 and 50 our bodies need slightly less calcium than during adolescence (11–18) and this is because bone growth slows during adulthood. Men and women both need approximately 700mg of calcium, compared to 800mg during adolescence for girls and 1000mg for boys. 

This does not, however, mean that it is any less important to get calcium during this period. During adulthood our bodies slowly begin to lose bone, and this is especially the case for women during and after the menopause. Getting enough calcium is important to help keep bones healthy. 

Dairy products can be a simple way of helping to meet calcium needs. One glass of milk (200ml), one pot of low fat yogurt (150g) or a matchbox size piece of cheese (30g), for example, can each provide an adult with roughly a third of their daily calcium needs.

See more about Dairy through life

Do older people need more calcium?

It is important that older people get enough calcium; an adequate supply can help to maintain bone strength and keep bones healthy during older age. 

The calcium requirement for the over 65s is set at 700mg a day, which is the same as for younger adults. A 200ml glass of milk, a pot of yogurt or a matchbox–sized piece of cheese can each supply around a third of these calcium needs.

Vitamin D is also important for healthy bones in older people as it’s needed for the absorption of calcium from food. We get small amounts of vitamin D from our diet, from foods such as oily fish, meat and eggs, and foods with added vitamin D such as some breakfast cereals but the majority is made in our skin from exposure to summer sunlight. As we get older, our skin becomes less efficient at producing vitamin D. 

Older people who don’t get outdoors very often or who cover up when they are outside, are particularly at risk of being short of vitamin D. It is recommended that people over the age of 65 take a 10 microgram supplement of vitamin D each day. All adults should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter.

Find out more on the benefits of milk and dairy nutrients for older people.

If I drink semi–skimmed milk, will I miss out on calcium?

No. It is a common misconception that whole milk contains more calcium than semi–skimmed milk, but this is not the case. 

By drinking semi–skimmed milk you will be getting roughly the same amount of calcium as whole milk. 100mls of semi–skimmed milk, for example, will provide you with 124mg of calcium, compared to 122mg of calcium per 100mls of whole milk.

A 200ml glass of whole, semi–skimmed or skimmed milk are all good sources of calcium.

Find out more about calcium and the other nutrients in milk and dairy foods in our Nutrition section

My child doesn’t like to drink milk, what should I do?

If your child doesn’t like to drink milk, this does not mean it is impossible to incorporate milk into his/her diet. There are lots of foods to which milk can be added, which means your child will not miss out on the important nutrients such as calcium it provides. Why not try some of the following ideas? 

Add milk to:

  • Mashed potato

  • Soup

  • Sauce (for example white sauce)

  • Custard

  • Milk pudding

  • Make a healthy, fruit smoothie with lots of milk

Check out our Recipe section for more ideas on adding milk to your cooking. You could also offer your child other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.

What is pasteurisation?

Pasteurisation is a heat–treatment which ensures milk is safe to drink (by killing any harmful bacteria) and also helps to keep it fresh for longer. In Northern Ireland, pasteurisation usually involves heating milk to 71.7°C for at least 15 seconds, and then cooling it very quickly to less than 3°C. 

Read more on pasteurisation.

What is the calorie content of milk?

The table below shows how many calories are in whole, semi–skimmed and skimmed milk: 

Type of milkPer 100mlPer glass (200ml)

What nutrients does milk contain?

Milk contains several important nutrients

A glass of milk (200ml) will give you calcium, protein, iodine, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins B2 and B12. 

For more information on the functions and benefits of the nutrients in milk, check out the Dairy Nutrition section.

What type of milk should you give to children?

From one year old, both whole milk and semi-skimmed milk are suitable as a main drink for toddlers. They are a good source of nutrients such as protein and calcium needed by growing children.

Skimmed milk and 1% fat milk shouldn't given as a main drink to the under fives as they don't provide enough energy or vitamin A. They can be used in cooking though.

Only breast milk or formula milk should be given as a main drink to children under one. Cow’s milk does not contain the right balance of nutrients to meet a baby’s needs at this age. After six months, cows’ milk can be used for cooking, for example to make a cheese sauce, and can be introduced as a main drink when your baby is a year old if you wish.

For more information see Dairy through life