FSA raw milk review sparks a producer rift

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The FSA’s impending unpasteurised milk review has provoked an acrimonious split in the UK’s raw milk movement.

Traditional raw milk producers are blaming “maverick” start-ups - which have started selling raw milk through vending machines and over the internet - for the review, which they say is unnecessary and could lead to stricter rules.

In Scotland, raw milk is already banned, but it can be sold in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as long as it is sold locally, direct from the farm or at a farmers’ market.

Sales over the internet or through vending machines were not prohibited under the current rules, but were also “not within the spirit of the legislation”, said the FSA’s director of food safety, Alison Gleadle.

The FSA is therefore proposing to carry out a public consultation on whether the rules on raw milk need to be reinforced, or whether sales should be banned across the UK.

Richard Copus, co-founder of the Campaign for Real Milk UK, said he was “absolutely furious” with raw milk producers selling over the internet or through vending machines. They were “stirring things up” and “really testing” the rules, he said. “The majority of small farmers who sell raw milk are very happy with the current legislation and don’t want the boat to be rocked.”

The review could lead to stricter rules, particularly for farmers markets, warned Copus, adding that he hoped the FSA would not go down that road.

Although there have not been any disease outbreaks linked to raw milk in England and Wales since 2002, many mainstream dairy producers are in favour of a total ban. “If there ever was an outbreak associated with raw milk, the headlines would be about ‘milk’ and damage to the industry could be substantial,” said one dairy executive.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Actually, vending machines are not maverick. They are common in Italy, Switzerland and Eastern Europe. They even have them in Tesco's car park's in Czech Republic. You can also purchase raw milk in shops throughout France. Also, the vending machine in question is in a well respected store, Selfridges, which has its own microbiology laboratory for routing testing of products. It is a shame that the British public have become so domesticated and, have allowed corporate lobbies to try to clamp down on their competition in such ways. It is also unfair to blame farmers for seeking new ways to bring milk to market given the horrifically low prices for milk now. For example, many organic farmers make a loss at current wholesale prices, due to corporate wholesale and retail monopolies.

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  • I would like to buy Raw milk, I live in Durham City England. Can anyone tell me where & how to buy it? Continue your good work for a healthy product.
    Medical Doctor!!!

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  • What Phil Ridley has not made clear in his comment is that the European countries which he has mentioned have different legisation regarding raw milk sales, most of which is laxer than our own. What can be done in Paris cannot necessarily be done in London, regrettably.

    Richard Copus

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  • Dr Hankin - you can buy unpasteurised jersey milk from John Barron at www.johnsjerseys.co.uk, nationwide delivery.

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  • We are all responsible adults and if we choose to buy raw milk, we should be able to do so.
    Raw milk ought to be freely available. Why does the state need to be overbearing and curtail our freedom? alcohol flows freely everywhere, people in their 30s are suffering from cirrhosis and yet it is all over the place, so are cigarettes, so is corn syrup and MSG ridden foods etc... what is so scary about healthy wholesome MILK?

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  • The cows love it - take a look at this beautiful herd at Hurdlebrook Dairy in Somerset - please feel free to link / share / embed

    https://vimeo.com/42888126

    All the best,

    Mark Whatmore

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  • Real Milk UK need to stop running scared and go on the offensive.

    Why should paying customers in a "free" country not be allowed to buy real milk from a vending machine, store or over the Internet? Instead of worrying about an FSA ban they should be fighting for our rights to eat the food we choose. Put all the scary warnings on it you wish but let us eat our choice of food.

    Sugar is far more dangerous than raw milk and its in virtually every product with no warnings.

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  • I am so sick and tires of watching my government attempting to impose dictatorship on the once-proud people of this nation.

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  • I live in the London area with no farm close by.
    Being 60 plus, it is not practical for me journey up to the centre of every week and carry home heavy milk.
    The day after the cows are milked my raw milk is delivered to me.
    So I cannot see any problem with ordering over the internet as long as you have checked out the supplier.

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  • Having looked at some of the actual testing that has been done to compare the effects on health between raw & pasteurized milk I would say that pasteurized milk should carry a skull & crossbones warning. Having myself become another victim of the modern healthy diet fallacy ( I was vegan for 20 yrs) my health has been destroyed & no diet change including giving up veganism & returning to dairy & eggs has helped in any way whatsoever, except when I switched to raw milk. There is something fundamentally different about raw milk, so much so that I would say that it is a health crime to pasteurize it. Incidentally, on a raw milk only diet my blood pressure dropped to normal from a fairly constant140/95 within 3 days, & pounding BP related headaches, fibro symptoms, chest pains & arrhythmias have all disappeared, and now we face this wonder product being banned, it's an utter disgrace. You can see some of the info on comparison tests done here 'http://newtrendspublishing.com/PDFS/16MilkFinal.pdf' it's truly shocking.

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