Raw milk

The FSA has successfully prosecuted a turkey farm in Essex and a Cornwall-based dairy farmer over breaches in safety regulations.

The watchdog said dairy farmer Jim Flashman, of West Prince Farm near the town of Callington in Cornwall, had been found guilty last week of “placing on the market raw cow’s drinking milk when the establishment was not registered by the relevant (FSA) competent authority”.

This led to a “direct failure” to ensure the FSA had up to date information on the business activities of the farmer, added an FSA spokeswoman.

Flashman, who is also a Cornwall county councillor, supplies milk to the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative (OMSCO) from a herd of 80 cows.

He was sentenced to a conditional discharge for a period of three years and was ordered to pay £2,700 in prosecution costs, plus a victim surcharge, and told The Grocer that he was “not happy” with the decision and was “waiting for legal advice” pending a possible appeal.

FSA chief operating officer Jason Feeney said it was “important that dairy farmers are registered with the FSA if they wish to sell raw cows drinking milk”.

“Since the milk is not heat treated there is an additional level of risk involved in drinking it in contrast to pasteurised milk,” he added. “Once registered, the FSA can ensure that controls on farm are satisfactory and raw milk is tested regularly and sold in appropriate containers that communicate the risks clearly.”

Following the prosecution, Jim Flashman said he had re-registered with the FSA to sell raw milk.

The FSA has also welcomed the prosecution of turkey farm GST Ltd, of Braintree Essex, for operating its licensed abattoir last October without any official staffing controls in place.

This meant that legally required ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections, which ensure the producer is upholding consumer safety, were not carried out on a number of slaughtered turkeys.

GST has been fined a total of £3,500 for the offence and a further £2,100 for the full sum of costs and a victim surcharge.

Jason Feeney added that the prosecutions would help ensure consumers were kept safe. “In the case of GST Ltd, the regulation lays down hygiene rules for foods of animal origin, on the basis that products may represent specific microbiological or chemical hazards to consumer health,” he said.