The nation’s biggest seller of raw milk has criticised the FSA for failing to take his sales into account when drafting its consultation on the sale of raw milk and cream.
The FSA launched a consultation last week into the future sale and marketing of unpasteurised, or ‘raw’ drinking milk and cream (RDM), in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In the documents, it said it had sent out a questionnaire to all registered producers of RDM in December 2012 to “improve our understanding of the volume of RDM produced and the sales routes used by producers”.
It had identified sales of raw milk and cream of 382,903 litres a year, but the figure does not include Hook & Son’s sales - 300,000 litres of raw milk a year - because Steve Hook was being prosecuted by the FSA for selling raw milk in a vending machine in Selfridges at the time.
The FSA said that Hook had chosen not to submit data, based on legal advice during the court proceedings. Hook, however, pointed out that this meant the FSA had not “had input from half the industry”.
He welcomed the FSA’s preferred approach of allowing sales of raw milk over the internet, but criticised its proposal to continue the ban on sales through vending machines on third-party premises.
Other stakeholders said they backed the FSA’s preferred option.
The Specialist Cheesemakers Association said it had been concerned that a total ban on sales of raw drinking milk might have damaged the image of unpasteurised cheese.
“We are very happy to support the FSA’s preferred option as it stands now,” said SCA secretary Clare Cheney. “We have no position concerning sales of milk via internet or vending machines because we do not represent drinking milk suppliers.”