Where does our milk come from?

Our milk and cream comes fresh from the lush pastures of northern NSW. Sir Graeme and I made a recent visit to the happy cows that produce our milk, and happy cows do give more milk so the farmers go to some trouble to make sure their cows are happy and healthy.  We talked to the people that look after the cows and their fresh green grazing pastures and the folks at Norco who handle the delicious healthy fresh dairy product that goes into each and every batch of our ice cream.

We learned a lot about dairy cows that we didn’t know before (hey, you can’t know it all!) – like A2 cows give softer milk because they’re softer cows. In fact they are probably the original type of dairy cow, but because they’re softer they’re (obviously) not as hardy. That’s why the majority of dairy cows aren’t A2 – built for harsh Aussie conditions.

Norco is the last true co-operative of farmers, started in 1895 in Bryon Bay. Each farmer in the co-op has a say in how it’s run. Here’s Greg, whose cows we visited – he’s the chairman of Norco. His farm (and handsome homestead) have been in his family for four generations. Greg’s vision of a sustainable and balanced approach to dairy farming was inspiring, and his explanation of the complexities of farm life was an education!

Just going out into the paddocks and meeting his happy cows made sense as to why our ice cream tastes so good! In turn, Greg appreciated meeting us and finding out about what we do. It was a great opportunity to walk the path from paddock to plate.

It’s important to us to know where our ingredients come from, not only so we can make informed choices about what goes into our ice cream but so we can also share that story with you. Take the time to find out where you food comes from – the story is worth knowing.

On allergens and other ingredients

All E numbers are abbreviations for chemical compounds, some of which are naturally plant derived – like the ones we use. They are natural ingredients in that they come from nature but they are processed products like almost all dairy products other than fresh milk straight from the cow. These functional ingredients are used in extremely low concentrations, usually around 0.1% of weight or less.

The E numbers are used instead of their rather long names, mostly for printing and space concerns on small labels – rather than some insidious plot to hide the facts. That said, of course some of those E numbers do represent ingredients that aren’t very nice – one example being 621 (Monosodium L-glutamate), a type of salt which is also derived from plants and is naturally present in tomatoes – and NOT used in our ice cream. It is, however, probably what makes a ripe tomato so delicious.

 E number used in our ice creams are:

407 is Carrageenan, a vegetable gum derived from red seaweed. It is a vegetarian and vegan alternative to gelatine. It is used in everything from food to personal care products to pharmaceuticals. There are possible concerns about using degraded carrageenan, where degradation is caused by exposure to either very high temperature &/or very high acidity; neither of these factors is present in ice cream production.

And 466 is the very delicious-sounding Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, an emulsifier derived from cellulose (or plant fibre) with a sodium atom added on to it which makes it a salt (of sorts). Once again, it has a wide range of uses in food, personal care and pharmaceutical products primarily because it has high viscosity, is non-toxic, and is hypoallergenic.

410 – Carob gum, aka Locust Bean gum. Carob is a member of the pea family, the dried pod of which is eaten by animals of all sorts including humans. It is frequently used as a substitute for chocolate (not a very good one in my view), but also as a thickening agent. It has also been used as a traditional medicine throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East for centuries.

412 – Guar gum is derived from the Guar bean, an annual legume. It is widely used in dairy products, and has until recently been widely fed to cattle. Now its expense prohibits it use as cattle fodder.

433 – Polysorbate 80, an emulsifier derived from oleic acid, which is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in various animal and vegetable fats and oils – here its derivation is vegetable. In general, polysorbate 80 is safe and well-tolerated, although a small number of people may be sensitive to this substance, and it may be harmful to people with Crohn’s disease.

471 – Mono- & di-glycerides of fat forming fatty acids – fats produced from glycerol and natural fatty acids, from either plant or animal origin. Again, here their derivation is vegetable.

We are also frequently asked questions about

Gluten – an allergen to which an increasing number of people are apparently sensitive in varying degrees, but especially those suffering Coeliac’s Disease. Gluten is most commonly found in wheat and its by-products. Glucose derived from wheat, which is used as an ingredient in our ice cream, however is a super-refined product and all traces of gluten have been eliminated. This is borne out by regular laboratory testing, showing that our ice creams contain less than 20 parts per million gluten – a level which is considered acceptable by Coeliac Australia.

Other possible allergens which we identify are:

  • Dairy
  • Egg
  • Nuts
  • Soy
  • Seeds

So you see this is a complex issue, and there is a lot of misinformation. It is always a good idea to know what goes into what you’re eating, and wise to ask the question.

Our Carbon Footprint

We take our carbon footprint seriously, and have taken a number of measures to reduce it and keep it contained. Our sustainability initiatives include:

  • Use of 100% accredited green energy
  • Waste is sorted and recycled to reduce the volume of waste going to landfill
  • We use re-useable and/or recycled office stationery and office supplies, including responsibly sourced paper
  • The water used to cool machinery is then re-used to rinse factory equipment prior to cleaning
  • Ice cream sold in our factory shop is only wrapped in pre-loved newspaper. We have a No Plastic Bag policy in our factory shop
  • All non-emergency lighting is turned off at the end of each day
  • Staff are encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transport to work
  • Staff are encouraged to use re-usable coffee cups
  • Our packaging is 100% recyclable, and some includes a recycled component
  • Our toners and mobile phones are recycled through Planet Ark’s collection points.

We have calculated our carbon footprint, and are happy to say we are carbon neutral! We collect data on fuel use and other business activities so that we can accurately assess our carbon output, and offset the carbon we cannot currently avoid producing.

What does Halal mean?

The word Halal means ‘permissible’ or ‘good’ in Arabic. Halal foods are foods that Muslims are allowed to eat under Islamic dietary guidelines. These criteria specify both what foods are allowed and how the food must be prepared.

In order for foods to be certified Halal the preparation and ingredients must be approved by a certifying body. In Australia one such body is the Halal Certification Authority (website). These certificates are issued yearly.

Foods approved by the Halal Certification Authority bear this logoHalal logo

A range of Serendipity Ice Cream products bear this logo.

Serendipity Ice Cream embraces diversity! – How else could we create the amazing range of ice creams and sorbets you know and love?

What does Kosher mean?

Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food that may be consumed according to Jewish law is termed Kosher or ‘fit’ in English. Kosher certification applies not only to ingredients but also preparation of foods.

Pareve foods are those which are not only kosher but also dairy free.

In order for foods to be certified Kosher  or pareve the preparation and ingredients must be approved by a Rabbi. In Australia one such governing body is the Kashrut Authority (ka.org.au)

Foods approved by the Kashrut Authority bear this logo and are assessed yearly.KA Logo

A range of Serendipity Ice Cream products are approved Kosher

Serendipity Ice Cream embraces diversity! How else could we learn about so many amazing ingredients to make our ice creams and sorbets?!

What does Vegetarian mean?

A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat red meat, poultry and seafood. This may also include the by-products of animals such as rennet and gelatin.

There are recognised subsets of vegetarianism;

  • Ovo-vegetarian; a diet that includes eggs but not meat
  • Lacto-vegetarian; a diet that includes dairy
  • Ovo-Lacto vegetarian; that includes both eggs and dairy products
  • Vegan; a diet that excludes ALL animal products including eggs, dairy and honey

Almost all Serendipity ice cream products are suitable for vegetarians dependent upon your dietary choices. Please read the ingredients carefully.

All Serendipity SORBETS are suitable for Vegans

Serendipity ice cream embraces diversity and sustainability! Really – how else would we do what we do?!

Still hungry for an answer about our ice creams? Ask us directly through our Contact Us page.

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