Last year, the New Zealand government surveyed over 2,000 raw milk consumers – finding that nearly 90% of respondents believe raw milk sales should be a matter of personal choice. Undoubtedly taking these survey results into account, the New Zealand government has decided to legalize raw milk sales from farms directly to consumers, beginning in March 2016.
Farm to consumer sales will include home deliveries and there will be no restrictions on quantities, though raw milk producers will have to register with the government, will need to meet certain hygiene requirements, will be subject to inspections and testing for pathogens, and will need to label raw milk appropriately so consumers can make informed decisions about consumption and the risks involved.
“I recognise that people feel strongly about their right to buy and drink raw milk. Equally, I am also aware of the strong concerns about the public health risks associated with drinking raw milk and the potential risk to New Zealand’s food safety reputation. We have worked hard to find the right balance between managing the risks to public health while recognising the demand from rural and urban consumers to access raw milk,” said Jo Goodhew, New Zealand’s Minister of Food Safety.
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We lived in New Zealand from 1970 to late 1978 and were there when milk was first required to be pasteurized and delivered in individual glass bottles. Previously the milk was delivered by a milk man who ladled the milk into your “billy” which was an aluminum covered tin, the amount determined by the token purchased from a local store. There were a lot of strong opinions being expressed around town and a general resistance to the change!