Money and Markets

Some ‘farm-fresh milk’ in South Africa is actually imported from Poland – here’s how to tell

Business Insider SA
(Facebook, Rudolph Burger)
(Facebook, Rudolph Burger)
  • One of SA’s most popular long-life milk brands, First Choice, imports some of its milk from Poland, Landbouweekblad reported. 
  • A Free State milk farmer spotted the imported milk, and said it is negatively affecting local dairy producers. 
  • First Choice’s manufacturer said the milk was imported to meet local winter demand, and no farmers were negatively impacted. 
  • For more stories go to

Garden-Route-based Woodlands Dairy is reportedly importing some of its milk from Poland to South Africa to be sold under its popular “farm-fresh” long life First Choice milk brand. 

Free state dairy farmer Rudolph Burger, who spotted the imported milk, said it this is affecting the struggling local milk industry negatively. 

Also read: Here's how milk prices compare across SA — some people are paying less than a year ago, while others have seen big hikes

In a Facebook post first reported on by Landbouweekblad, Burger expressed how outraged he was when he saw the imported milk being dropped off at a Bloemfontein supermarket. 

“Do you South Africans realise what damage you do to the local dairy farmer by buying the milk?” Burger asked in Afrikaans. 

“If the South African consumer pays a few cents less for Poland’s milk then you have to accept that you are helping to pull the South African dairy farmer deeper into a predicament.” 

Burger said his local supermarket in Brandfort, in the Free State, already stopped selling imported milk after a request from dairy farmers. 

He attached pictures to his post of First Choice milk with “product of Poland” clearly printed on the back. 

First Choice markets its milk as a green choice – but the imported milk would have had to travel more than 14,000 km to get to South Africa. 

“Big on the carton it says eco-friendly... think for yourself: Poland is on the other side of the world - how much fuel was burnt to get the milk on South African shelves,” Burger said. 

Burger’s Facebook post has been shared more than 6,000 times by Monday morning.

See also: Cheap imported butter is undercutting local brands – here's how the market is changing

Woodlands Dairy CEO Lex Gutsche said the Polish milk was imported to meet local winter demand, Landbouweekblad reported.

Gutsche claimed no local manufacturers or dairy farmers were affected by the imported Polish milk. 

Woodlands Dairy, which was started in 1995 by the Gutsche family in the Eastern Cape, employs roughly 1,400 people to produce cheeses, butter, flavoured milk, and long-life milk. 

It also helps produce some of Spar and Woolworth’s in-house brand dairy products

Woodlands Dairy recently launched its new 100% recyclable packaging which is partly sourced from renewable sources. 

It said it was the first dairy company in the country to take this step towards saving the planet. 

(compiled by James de Villiers)

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