asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is the evidence for the advice which recently appeared on the farmed animals page of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' website that during milking of dairy cows the case for wearing disposable latex or rubber gloves is indisputable particularly where contagious pathogens are the main source of contamination. [HL2986]
That wearing rubber gloves and keeping them clean can help reduce bacterial contamination during milking has been our advice since the publication of our advisory booklet Treatment and Prevention of Mastitis in Dairy Cows in 1999 and on the Defra website as part of our advice on reducing mastitis in dairy cows since 2002.
Bacteria, including the bacteria that cause mastitis, can be passed from cow to cow by stock-keepers during milking and it is demonstrably easier to ensure a high level of hand hygiene when wearing rubber gloves. This advice was originally submitted by ADAS, an agricultural consultancy with which Defra has an advisory contract, and is generally recognised, from practical experience, to be good milking parlour routine.