FSA wants farmers to continue selling raw milk
Dairy farmers could be allowed to continue selling unpasteurised milk directly to consumers but not through other retailers, under new government proposals.
In a document published today, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it was in favour of farmers selling raw milk and cream via the internet or from vending machines in farm shops but wanted third party sales to remain illegal.
Other proposals contained in the document – which is the result of an extensive review and is now subject to public consultation – include lifting all current sales restrictions or a blanket ban on the products.
Any changes to the law would only apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland as the sale of raw milk is already banned in Scotland.
While the FSA was carrying out its review, Selfridges and Sussex farmer Stephen Hook were both charged in January 2013 with breaching food hygiene laws after selling milk from a vending machine in the retailer’s London store. The vending machine was removed and the charges were subsequently dropped.
FSA head of policy Steve Wearne said: “The FSA’s view remains that pasteurisation is the best way to address the risk from raw milk because this will destroy any germs that might cause illness.
“However, we acknowledge there is a market for raw milk and strong support for consumers to be allowed to make informed choices. Our preferred approach therefore seeks to strike the right balance between allowing consumer choice and protecting public health.”
As part of the consultation process on the raw milk regulations the FSA plans to hold a public meeting where interested parties will be invited to discuss their views.
The proposals are subject to a full public consultation and the FSA is asking for responses by 30 April 2014.