In an attempt to help consumers find locally produced Real Milk, we have compiled the following list describing the potential availability and legal situation on a country-by-country basis. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of the following list. If you have corrections or additions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. See Real Milk Finder>Other Countries for a listing of dairies by city and country.
Update, Summer 2006: In Zimbabwe, unpasteurized, fermented soft cheese (curds) called mukaka wakakora are sold through a roadside farmstand/shop on a main road going to Harare. This soft cheese is amazingly popular with the indigenous Africans, who credit the cheese with reversing serious illnesses that are rampant in the area. Some high government officials have had substantial health improvements from daily use of this product, and consider it crucial for improving and maintaining their health and the health of their families.
Federal law prohibits the sale or giving away of any raw milk, and in many provincial laws reinforce this (in Ontario, farmers may be fined $250,000 and sentenced to three years in jail). Challenges to these laws are now underway. And in spite of onerous penalties, Michael and Dorothea Schmidt of Glencolton Farm provide milk to cow-share holders in Toronto.
- Gordon Watson is trying to get something going in British Columbia. He can be contacted at email@example.com. See also his website: freewebs.com/bovinity.
- James McLaren is presently working to change pasteurization in Ontario. See his website at naturalmilk.org
- Information in French on raw milk is available at bonlait.com
- Canadian Blog about Raw Milk: thebovine.wordpress.com
- British Columbia Herdshare Association’s Advocacy Log: bcherdshare.org/about/bchas-advocacy-log/
- Update, Spring 2019: Raw Milk Enforcement Moves to Alberta
- Update, March 17, 2015: Raw Milk Rights in British Columbia
- Update, Spring 2014: Cow Shares in Canada/Michael Schmidt Case
- Update, Winter 2011: Michael Schmidt Appellate Decision and Hunger Strike
- Update, Winter 2010: Michael Schmidt’s Edmonton Declaration
- Update, Spring 2010: Schmidt found not guilty
- Update, Spring 2009: Michael Schmidt trial
- Update, Winter 2008: Schmidt guilty of contempt
- Update, Fall 2008: Temporary victory for Schmidt
- Update, Summer 2008: Schmidt trial postponed
- Update, August 2007: Michael Schmidt farm raid
- Update, Nov. 21, 2006: Canada–The Milk War by Sally Fallon Morell
- Update, Spring 2005: On April 4, James McLaren of Raw Milk Canada, Markus Koenig (Dashwood, Ontario chapter) and Sally Fallon met with Health Canada officials to discuss the legalization of raw milk in Canada. Officials said that a “novel food” application would be required, a long process but one that could achieve our goal, especially since Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms stipulates the right to life and prohibits discrimination. Officials were surprised to learn that their own department’s health statistics indicate that other foods are at least 35 times more likely to cause foodborne illness than raw milk.
- Update, Feb. 1, 2002: The Incredible Story of Michael and Dorothea Schmidt and Real Milk in Canada by Sally Fallon Morell
- Update, Spring 2003: We received the following message by email from Christain Masis in Nicaragua ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). “We have a small dairy farm and use the milk to make a product which is very popular in our county and the Nicaraguan community loves it. We have been selling this product for about 12 years. . . We make it from raw milk by adding a small amount of culture. . . We call it lecheagria, which means sour milk. People say that it is very healthy for diabetics, for liver disease, for almost for every thing. . .We are having the problem that the owners of the grocery stores where we sell the product are asking us for labels on the containers, because the USDA inspectors ask them for a label in order to not make them throw the product into the garbage. It seems that the inspectors know that it is made from raw milk. We are thinking of pasteurizing the milk but the customers say that if we do it, they are going to stop buying the products, because it is going to lose the properties it has. What can we do? This is what we do for a living.” We have advised them to get their customers to protest, or to organize some kind of direct sale program.
There are distributors of raw milk in almost every town and village in India. Some consumers will buy only raw (fresh milk). The distributors go by the trade name of gwala or Bhaiiyyas or Doodhwalla (milkman). The dairy farm where the cows and buffalo are reared for milk are called tabelas. In a city like Mumbai which is crowded, one will find tabelas in various localities. The bhaiiyys bring the raw milk (possibly with varying degrees of dilution) in steel or aluminum cans and ladle it out with long-stemmed ladles. Normally the raw milk would be boiled and then consumed. In its raw form it would be used for religious purposes as offerings. For more information check out National Dairy Development Board or National Dairy Research Institute at Karnal.
A source in Japan sends this update: Raw milk (non-pasteurized milk) situation in Japan should be interesting. As far as I know, it does not look as good as US, although I’m not aware of any pasteurization law. From my limited grocery shopping experience in Japan, more than 90% of the milk sold in retail is “ultra-pasteurized” (120°C or 130°C for 2 sec) and regular “pasteurized” milk (usually 65°C for 30 min) is sold as healthier alternatives. I don’t think low-fat milk is very popular (could be changing though) and people look at “fat content” of the milk as a quality factor, although I remember powdered skim milk commonly given to infants.
I actually searched on the Internet for raw milk in Japan and found one dairy farm in Hokkaido selling raw milk, claiming to be “the only dairy farm” selling raw milk in Japan after going through several years of paper work with health department. It seems that, in spite of rave reviews from happy customers, they have gone through difficult times, possibly because of media exposure for their “unique” milk. Their milk is also available through several online stores and I got the impression that their milk is a special product made only possible with special care, implying that raw milk is usually not possible for direct consumption.
I found other cases of people getting raw milk directly from farm in discussion boards, online diary etc. but it seems common that dairy farmer recommends “boiling” first to kill off bacteria. I also found that “non-homogenized milk” is gaining popularity, often coupled with “pasteurized” (as opposed to “ultra-pasteurized”) process to make it more appealing to the health conscious.
- Update, Dec. 3, 2004: Sri Lanka to Encourage Fresh Milk Consumption, Government to Establish 1000 Dairy Farmer Villages
- Update, Winter 2004: Minister plans for more local milk production
National standards allow for a state to permit the sale of raw milk for human consumption, and South Australia allows sales within the framework of a regulatory regime. Regulations in Queensland and New South Wales allow for the sale of raw goat’s milk but not raw cow’s milk. In Queensland, raw cow’s milk is available in health food stores as Cleopatra’s Bath Milk, and cow share programs are underway in Queensland and other states.
- Update, Spring 2015: Last year, four children who had drunk raw milk became ill and one—a terminally ill cancer patient—died. The connection between raw milk and the illnesses was never convincingly proved. Nevertheless, Australian authorities used the outbreak to go after raw milk sold as Cleopatra’s Bathwater. Since February, new regulations require addition of a a “bittering” agent to raw milk sold as a cosmetic or pet food. In reaction to this bureaucratic move, as well as to heavy handed application of regulations designed for large producers, citizens of Australia have set up a Farmer-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, modeled after the U.S. Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Australian raw milk supporters will be working towards reinstating the Mountain View Herd Share Model, preparing their defense and raising money for the defense. For further information, visit Australia Alliance for Raw Milk‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aus.arm.
- Update, Aug. 27, 2008: A member from Australia tells us herdshare is progressing well, but there will be certain states (ie Victoria) where it will be difficult / if not impossible to implement. They are working at alternatives in those areas and there are various listings on the site www.realmilkaustralia.com (Update January 2015: Site appears to be gone), with appropriate people to contact. During the next weeks they are working toward setting up local blogs for people setting up milk runs/cow shares in different areas, so it is more focused on local news around australia. They are moving strongly on Legislation changes. This is a really important opportunity for them to take advantage of in terms of legislation. Raw milk cheese is also undergoing de-regulation; there is an update on this on the milk site.
- Update, Spring 2006: We have a report of a new raw milk dairy in southest Queensland, Warradale Organics. Their Jersey milk is available to participants in a herdshare agreement at the Northley Organic Markets in Brisbane and through distributors in Southeast Queensland. The farm can be contacted at email@example.com.
- Update, Fall 2004: In spite of threats of draconian legislation, raw milk is still widely available, even in some health food stores in the form of frozen raw milk labeled “Cleopatra’s Bath Milk.” A group is working with Safe Foods, the regulatory agency in Queensland to amend the regulations to make sales of raw cows milk legal, just as sales of raw goats milk are legal.
- Update, Fall 2003: Proposed Queensland legislation that would make the sale of raw milk illegal, even through cowshare programs, has met with stiff consumer resistance, including a protest petition signed by 800 voters and a lawsuit by attorney Bruce Bell. Bell has sued the entire Queensland cabinet for presenting an illegal law to the legislature. For details see firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Update, June 16, 2003–RAW MILK OPPORTUNITY IN AUSTRALIA: Herdshare.com is a place where you can register your interest in creating a local real milk supply in your region. Sign up for the newsletter to register your interest and we’ll let you know the progress of herdshares all round Australia. If you’re a farmer who wants to manage a herd, a consumer of real milk who wants to establish a local supply and support your farmers or even if you’re looking for a part time job, sharing the milk with shareholders at your local farmer’s market, sign up and we’ll put you all together. As soon as enough people in your region are assembled and a farmer and sharer has been employed, you’re ready to go. To keep farmers on the land, connect consumers with farms & support localised real milk & dairy products, herdshare.com is a great tool. Tell your friends to sign up, especially if they’re farmers. Let’s establish a consumer base so large government has no choice but to certify real milk. And let’s do it now!
- Update, April 27, 2003 (from Sally Fallon): On my recent trip to Australia, I found a lively interest in raw milk. Availability varies depending on the state—Australians should contact their local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundations (to date, there are nine in Australia) to find out whether raw milk is available locally. In Brisbane, Farmer Pat McCarthy has set up a successful cow share program. His milk, cream and beautiful yellow butter can be obtained at the weekly Brisbane farmers market.A Real Milk Alliance in Queensland is working with lawyer Ron Sinclair to make changes to existing regulations to allow the sale of raw cows milk in health food stores, similar to existing sales of raw goats milk. If you would like to get involved, contact Don MacFarlane at (07) 5467-1411 or email@example.com . Check out the website http://www.angelfire.com/folk/realmilkalliance.While in Queensland, I was updated on the activities of a dairy in Goomboorian. They had been selling raw milk from their Jersey herd as “pet milk” in local health food stores. When the health department told them to desist, they came up with a better idea. They now sell Cleopatra’s Bath Milk as a “Cosmetic Skin Treatment.” The label states: “As it is presently unlawful in Queensland to supply pure, unprocessed dairy products as food, it is important your body is able to absorb the vitamins and enzymes only available in raw milk, this can be done by bathing in it. Please tell your member of Parliament what you think.” Sales of Cleopatra’s Bath Milk are brisk!
- Update, Spring 2002: Mr. Bruce Bell, a lawyer in Queensland, Australia who is defending a dairy farmer selling raw milk as pet food, has provided us with a report on the status of real milk in Australia
In New Zealand, it is legal to sell raw milk direct from the farm to an individual, for their own personal and family use. However, there is a lot of confusion about this, and some people do not know it is legal.
NZ has some different dairy health issues than the US — in NZ almost all cows are pasture-fed, however, most conventional NZ farms use super-phosphates and other harmful chemicals on the grass, causing myriad health problems to the cows (as well as to the farmers). The chemicals lead to mineral and nutritional deficiencies in the cows, as well as parasite problems and other sicknesses, which are then treated with toxic chemical dips, drenches, antibiotics, etc. The nutritional deficiencies of the soil are directly reflected in the same deficiencies in the milk. That is why it is very important to buy your raw milk from a farm that uses natural, organic farming methods (whether certified or not) and also uses natural soil enrichment. There is a growing trend in NZ, especially in Southland, to return to traditional, natural, non-toxic methods.
- Auckland: If you are interested in a cowshare program, contact the Weston A. Price Foundation local chapter leader Alison Ellett at (09) 420-8548 or Alison@nzflavour.com. You may also want to ask about raw milk at Ceres Whole Foods; staff there may be helpful.
- Wellington: Organic dairy farm sells direct to consumers raw milk from pasture-fed Jerseys. A group is now forming to help educate the public and lawmakers on the benefits and safety of raw milk and to alter the NZ laws to allow raw milk sales. Contact Susan Galea firstname.lastname@example.org or Cedric Backhouse email@example.com, Website: realmilk.co.nz/.
- Update, Spring 2014: A reader reports: We now have a number of raw milk vending machines around the country. These are for cow’s milk only and are run by a company based in Takaka, Tasman called Village Milk who are offering franchises nationwide. Their vending machines are imported from Italy. This is fantastic news but for the small producer, set up and compliance costs remain prohibitive. Also, Cottage Crafts, a cheesemaking supplier in Kataia, Northland has a milk map on their website giving details of where raw milk can be found (but this is not being sold for human consumption). The interest in the health benefits of raw milk is definitely gathering momentum here!
- Update, Spring 2006: Thanks to the indefatigable efforts of Bari Caine, our Invercargill chapter leader in southern New Zealand, raw milk is now available from a farmer in her area. Raw milk sales from the farm gate are technically legal in New Zealand, but farmers still are subject to harassment, so they avoid publicity. We also have a report from member Paul Winter about a radio talk show on December 8 which devoted two hours of discussion to the subject of raw milk. The show began with a report from a local university (Otago) about brittle bones in children, but rapidly developed into a discussion about the benefits of raw milk. Almost all the callers praised raw milk, many of them farmers who told of the benefits to them and their families.
On-farm and some retail sales of raw milk are permitted in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Denmark and Sweden. (Some stores in Belgium and Norway sell frozen mare’s milk.) However, farmers who sell raw milk must pass much more stringent inspections than those who sell their milk for pasteurizing. In Russia, raw milk is available in the countryside but in Moscow, the only source is a monastery near Moscow.
- Update, June 30, 2008: Popular in Europe: Raw Milk by Vending Machine!
- Update, Winter 2007: CBC editorial by Norman Dunn about unpasteurized milk in Europe. http://www.farmcentre.com/english/cbc/index.htm?id=428
- Update, Spring 2006: While health officials in the US are constantly warning about how unsafe raw milk is for children, the Kindsheid-Jesu primary school in Belgium has installed a vending machine for fresh raw farm milk! The vending machine contains 80 liters of milk which can stay in the machine a maximum of seven days. “We feared that the taste of fresh milk would be strange for our small children and students,” says school director Rene Wouters, “but sales have been better than expected. Since installing the milk machine, usage has increased to up to 30 liters per day.” The children now prefer the fresh milk to milk in cartons. Another four or five raw milk vending machines have been installed on Belgium farms. Another development in Belgium, as well as in France, is the growing popularity of raw donkey milk.
- Update, Feb. 12, 2006: Saving the Raw Milk Cheeses of Provence
One of our German translators, Helmut Rein, obtained two publication from the Federal Ministry, provided by Herr Rolf Meyer, Referat 423, Rochusstrasse 1, 53123 Bonn. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first, called “Bundesministerium für Verbraucherschutz, Ernaehrung und Landwirtschaft,” says that raw milk is available directly from some producers/farmers, and officially it is called “ab-Hof-Abgabe” (something like “sales by farmer”). It means that any farmer is allowed to drink its own milk as raw milk, and to sell it directly to any final user if he wishes. There is also a way of marketing raw milk through the commerce, and then it is called “Vorzugsmilch” (something like “preference milk”).
The second, a leaflet called “Milch und Milcherzeugnisse” issued by “Auswertungs- und Informationsdienst für Ernaehrung, Landwirtschaft und Forsten (aid) e.V.” offers the following explanations on page 14:
“Rohmilch ist weder erhitzt noch molkereimaessig bearbeitet. Sie darf wegen der eventuell vorhandenen krankheitserregenden Mikroorganismen nur unter besonderen Bedingungen direkt vom Erzeuger auf seinem Hof als “Milch-ab-Hof” abgegeben werden. An der Abgabestelle muss der Hinweis angebracht sein: “Rohmilch, vor dem Verzehr abkochen”.
And: “Vorzugsmilch ist eine amtlich besonders ueberwachte Milchsorte , die in ihrer natuerlichen Beschaffenheit mit unveraendertem Fettgehalt roh (nicht erhitzt) in den Verkehr gebracht wird. Deshalb sind die Anforderungen an den Gesundheitszustand der Kuehe, an die laufende Hygiene-Ueberpruefung und an die Beschaffenheit der Milch, an Behandlung, Verpackung und Befoerderung besonders streng. Der Geundheitszustand des Personals wird ebenfalls ueberwacht”.
And after that, an extensive explanation follows regarding health risks when drinking raw milk because of possible EHEC-infections (Enterohaemorragisches Escherichia-Coli-Bakterium) and how to avoid these risks by heating the milk for at least 10 minutes at 68 degrees Centigrade.
This makes clear why it is difficult to find farmers who sell raw milk to end users. They are much more supervised than others who pass all their milk to the professional processors who take care of hygiene questions in their industrial plants.
- Update, Fall 2011: Raw milk vending machines in Germany!
- Update, March 2, 2004: A German reader tells us it is not hard to find a farmer willing to sell you raw milk. Most dairy farmers will do that. It might even be less expensive than storebought milk! But they do expect you to boil the milk and discussing that subject with them might not be the best idea.
- Update, April 2, 2007: A German reader tells us you can buy raw milk and cheese in most small towns in the cheese store.
- Update, Summer 2012: A ban on the sale of raw milk in Ireland that government officials indicated was to take effect at the beginning of this year has yet to happen, with signs that the ban might not be implemented at all. Simon Coveney, the Minister of Agriculture who has pushed for the ban, is being opposed by Dr. James Reilly, the Minister for Health. Dr. Reilly has stated that he “does not consider that a ban on the sale of raw milk for direct human consumption is proportionate to the public health risks involved.” Reilly favors regulations being put in place to control the sale of raw milk. Coveney insists that there must be a ban arguing that regulation would not eliminate the danger but appears not to want to put the ban in place unless the Department of Health agrees to it. For his part, Reilly has asked that Department of Health officials work with the Department of Agriculture to establish a regulatory system for raw milk. Previously there was a ban on raw milk sales in Ireland from 1997-2006; the ban was lifted when new European Union legislation went into effect. For updates, go to the raw milk Ireland Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/Raw-Milk-Ireland/173773186009649.
- Update, Oct. 13, 2011: The Irish Government intends to ban the sale of raw milk by the end of 2011. Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, acting on the advice of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, has stated that he is fully satisfied that the ban should go ahead. Read more here: Raw Milk in Ireland. Further details at www.rawmilkireland.com.
Update, Summer 2006: A dairy farmer near Rome, Italy reports that as many as 200 farmers now offer raw milk—latte crudo—on the farm, using an automatic raw milk dispenser. Farmers must obtain permission from the local authorities and keep daily records on the amount of milk sold. Says our source: “Roughly 15-20 percent of consumers have serious problems with industrial milk, such as colitis and stomach pains. When they start to drink raw milk their problems disappear.” See his website at www.biola.it. Italian farmers get three times as much for their milk when they sell it direct compared to selling it to the dairy company. “Producers are going out of business in Italy, but nobody seems to care. This could be a way to keep them in business although it is not the final solution for every farmer.
Update, Feb. 3, 2006: Giuseppe Brandizzi, a dairy farmer near Rome Italy, sent the following update for Italy.”Since June 2005, there have been a couple of Provincial Breeder Association and other Dairy Equipment Manufacturers that started offering raw milk automatic dispenser equipment to dairy farmers.Farmers can locate the dispenser in or outside the farm, filled with their raw milk. This seems to be a new way of offering milk directly to consumers. To date, January 2006, about 200 dispensers are located all over Italy and consumer response is enthusiastic.As Italy is a bureaucratic land, you must work hard to get all the licenses and permissions:
- Communicate to your Comune Major one month before that you want sell raw milk directly.
- Get permission from a veterinarian (this could be the most complicated step, depending on the veterinarian you find).
- Communicate to the Milk Quota Regional Office that you want sell milk directly.
- Keep a daily direct-sold milk quota register.
- Keep a ‘corrispettivi’ register for tax purposes.
- Buy a good dispenser.
- Offer plastic bottles at the beginning.
If you still have the nerve, go and sell your milk! I have been running two dispensers for a couple of months and the most interesting aspect is that roughly 15-20% of consumers have serious problems with ‘industrial’ milk, claiming colitis, dairy intolerance, or stomach pain…and when they start to drink RAW MILK, most of the time their problems disappear!
The economics of pasteurized commercial milk vs. raw direct milk:
- Commercial pasteurized milk in Italy is sold at €1,30 per liter
- Producers get 30% of €1,30
- Processors get 30% of €1,30
- Distributors (GDO*) get 40% of €1,30
- Raw direct milk is sold at €1,00 per liter
*Grande Distribuzione Organizzata
In other words, farmers get €0,39 per liter for their milk destined for pasteurization and the grocery store, but get €1,00 per liter for their raw milk sold direct to consumers.
Producers are going out of business in Italy, but nobody seems to care. This could be a way to keep business, but is not the final solution for every farmer. Personally, I am trying to keep my business and my cows through Raw Milk Direct Sale. Come and visit me at www.biola.it!”
Updated, Feb. 17, 2005: From a source in Sicily–The kinds of milk usually available at stores in Italy are:
- UHT milk:ultra-pasteurized at high temperatures (140°C for 2-3 seconds), with a shelf life of 3 months, and 3 days after opening, divided in:
- full-fat: at least 3.2 %
- half-skimmed: 1.5 – 1.8 %
- Fresh milk: pasteurized at 72°C, full-fat, half-skimmed or skimmed: it gets raw to the dairy plant where it is bottled within 48 hours (in this period the laws require only one thermal treatment, having a nominal duration of 5 days (but practically 6 or even 7)
- High quality fresh milk: it gets raw to the dairy plant directly from farms having particular hygiene and feeding characteristics, submitted to only one pasteurization process, nominal duration the same as fresh one. It can only be full-fat, and it seems to be standardized at 3.7%. High quality is a legal definition that can be given only to the kind of milk with the described characteristics.
- Biologic (or organic): as “high quality,” only the cows must be given organic feed.
The latter two represent the best that you can find on the market. One common characteristic to all the mentioned milks is homogenization, in order to make it “more digestible.”
As far as raw milk is concerned, there is a confusing state: from one side, the DPR an°54/1997, acceptance of the European Community regulation Dir.1992/46/CEE, regulates the milk and dairy products trades, stating that the sale of raw milk is restricted to the farm, directly from the farmer to the final consumer: “…E’ vitiate limousine al con sumo did late crud salvo chez vena vend dilettante deal proctored al consummate nell tessa aided Arcola did production..” Nevertheless, there are cases of producers who sell through a distribution network (even if limited: they sell to the stores, which sell to the end consumers). A northern Italy producer advertises its milk on the web (so it seems that even advertising is not forbidden), citing that same 1997 law to remark its hygienic characteristics.
In my experience, in Sicily, which is where I live, to find raw milk is possible through a web of contacts, and if you are sort of introduced by somebody trustworthy (that is the way I found my supplier). Probably the trade and sale could not be so difficult if there were a stronger request from the consumers, consequence of its benefits being put into the due light from the media. There seems to exist the fear of contaminations from the milk: even the farmer where I get mine, the first time we met, advised me to boil, or at least heat it at 70 °C, probably to disclaim of any responsibility, even though their cows have a cell count less than one third of the imposed limit. Successively he admitted of using it warmed at no more than 40°C for his own and family use.
Update, Summer 2009: In Italy, in the past three years, Latte Crudo machines have sprung up all over the country and now raw milk makes up 10% of the entire nation’s milk market! In Parma which is a town of 200 000 there are 4 machines easily accessible within the town’s historic centre. Each machine is filled by different local dairy farmer’s daily and you purchase the milk in whichever increment of 1 Litre that you would like. Its only 1 Euro a litre. The milk is filtered and chilled and that is it. Very popular here now!
As of 1997, it is legal in Finland to sell unpasteurized milk from farms to a customer who him/herself comes to buy it from there.
Update Spring 2005: At least four farms have installed raw milk “vending machines” whereby customers can tap their fresh milk directly from the bulk tanks. Milk sells at €0,60 per liter. This is presented as a sort of milk drive-in where people can self serve and the busy farmer does not have to spend a lot of time with the customer. These machines are becoming common in health conscious countries like Switzerland and Austria and the manufacturer says there are many requests for information. See www.brunimat.ch.In addition, all supermarkets sell raw milk cheeses and I have been informed that the reformhaus (all) sells raw milk of cow, sheep & goat.
Update Fall 2018: Raw Cow Milk Sales Now Legal in Catalonia
- Update March 2015: A report from a reader— Selling commercially raw milk is forbidden in Sweden. There is an exception where a farmer may sell in small quantities to visitors.In April 2012 a grocery store in Åre (a small mountain town and ski resort) introduced a raw milk vending machine. It was immediately stopped by the police (along with some debacle and demonstrations). The farmer ”Jörgen Andersson at Åre Bondgård” demanded a court trial. The trial started but the district attorney closed the case on technical reasons.
Since then, the Swedish FDA has unsuccessfully tried to ban raw milk also for farmer direct sales. But they have successfully managed to reduce the quantity limit a farmer can sell to visitors (now max 70 liters/week) and all direct sales farmers must register. Sales of raw milk in Swedish stores are still banned.
PS. Äkta vara is a NPO/NGO consumer organisation for food quality. Read more: www.aktavara.org/en
- Update, Winter 2008: A letter from a reader in Sweden–It is possible to obtain raw milk in Sweden, as it is legal to buy direct from the farm. We buy our milk from a nearby farmer who produces organic milk. Unfortunately, he has Holstein cows, even if the farmer has thought about crossing them with Jersey cows. Also, Sweden is rather cold in the winter, so the cows are indoors several months in a row (they do get exercise once a week), and are fed grains along with hay (I think some of the hay is fermented). I think that they are grazing outdoors for at least six months though, so we are satisfied. The milk tastes great and has done wonders for my eldest as she completely stopped having ear infections and runny nose as soon as we made the transition to raw milk. We also make our own whole milk butter milk (filmjölk), but we are a bit too lazy to separate the cream.
- Summary on the current legality of raw milk and cream sales in the UK.
- Update, Winter 2016: Raw Milk Is Thriving in the UK. In 2015, the U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) ruled to keep raw milk legal under existing restrictions. Since that time the number of raw milk producers in England and Ireland has increased at least 100 percent. There is even a courier service to supply raw milk to all of Scotland (where raw milk production is prohibited). London chapter leader Phil Ridley has obtained a listing of all the UK dairies licensed to sell raw milk. It is posted at www.food.gov.uk/science/raw-drinking-milk-and-cream. In addition, our North Wales chapter leader Ben Pratt has compiled a list of over one hundred raw milk producers in the UK and Ireland along with an interactive map, posted at www.facebook.com/RawmilkUKandIreland. We have also posted this information at realmilk.com. Thank you, Phil and Ben, for all your efforts for raw milk in the UK. Many consumers, especially children, are benefitting from your endeavors.
- Update, Summer 2009: The farmers’ markets are a relatively new phenomenon in the UK. The loophole which enables raw milk sales there because markets are direct and not secondary sales, means it is easier to find unpasteurised milk at London Bridge than in the heart of Herefordshire!
A Campaign for Real Milk in England has successfully fought off government attempts to ban all sales of raw milk. The Dairy Products Hygiene Regulations of 1995 state of raw milk: “. . . an occupier of a registered production holding may sell such milk at or from the farm premises where the animals from which the milk has been obtained are maintained, to: (a) the ultimate consumer for consumption other than at those farm premises; (b) a temporary guest or visitor to those farm premises as or as part of a meal or refreshment; or (c) a distributor.
A distributor may sell such milk: (a) in the containers in which he receives the milk with the fastenings of the containers unbroken; (b) from a vehicle which is lawfully used as shop premises; and (c) direct to the ultimate consumer.”
Some 200 producers sell raw milk direct to consumers in England. In England and Wales, raw or “green top” milk is only allowed to be sold from designated farms. Most counties have only a small handful of such farms but there is a hot spot in Yorkshire. For further information contact Richard Copus at email@example.com . The Royal family has consumed raw milk for 500 years.
- Update, Spring 2006: There is much confusion on the subject of raw milk in Britain. I spoke on the subject of raw milk at the January meeting of the UK Soil Association in London and discovered that the general public believes that raw milk is illegal in Britain. Yet raw milk is legal—although difficult to find. I met two farmers selling raw milk in the London farmers markets, and there are others who sell on-farm and at provincial farmers markets. These farms are struggling to survive, however, and need help. I suggested to the Soil Association that they compile a list of raw milk sources and also put together a document detailing the legal rights of raw milk farmers. Or perhaps one of our UK members will step forward to do this job. Raw milk has one thing going for it in the UK—the royal family drinks raw milk. Prince Charles is quoted as saying that his grandmother lived to her 100th year thanks in part to her habit of drinking raw milk.
- Update, April 1, 2002: Real Milk Is Alive and Well in England
A concerned citizen is working to develop a campaign to re-legalise raw milk in Scotland: http://rawmilkscotland.webs.com/
In the spring of 2002, Welsh officials proposed a ban on the sale of raw milk. However, after considerable pressure, officials announced that sales of raw milk and cream would continue, with a voluntary change in the labeling.
- Update, Fall 2003: Promoters of compulsory pasteurization have given up in their drive to make on-farm sales of raw milk illegal. Consumer pressure wins the day once again and raw milk and cream can continue to be legally sold in Wales.
- Update, June 5, 2003: In February 2003, following a review of controls on the sale of raw milk and raw cream, the Welsh Food Standards Agency issued a press release stating that Welsh Assembly Government Health and Social Services Minister Jane Hutt has decided that the sale of raw milk and cream in Wales will be allowed to continue, but a voluntary change to raw milk labeling in Wales is to be introduced. The Agency will encourage producers to change the labeling on their product to give a stronger warning of the potential risks to health associated with raw milk consumption.The review, recommended by the Agency’s Advisory Committee for Wales (ACW), included public consultation on whether sales of unpasteurized milk and cream should continue as they are, continue with better labeling, or whether the products should be banned altogether on health grounds. The ACW believed more specific warnings struck the most appropriate balance by helping the consumer to make an informed choice about consuming raw milk or cream. The Food Standards Agency Wales will be contacting producers to gauge their reaction to a voluntary change to labeling.
- Update, Spring 2002: Welsh officials are proposing a ban on the sale of raw milk (called green top milk) in Wales, apparently because the increase in raw milk sales is eating into the profits of the industry. In fact, green top milk is fast becoming a niche market and giving some financial relief to beleaguered British farmers. Richard Copus, who together with Sir Julian Rose helped prevent a raw milk ban in Britain, is working to oppose the measure. At least 11 green top farmers in Wales would be affected. Richard is hopeful that a compromise could be reached that would require labeling but still allow the sale of raw milk. He has pointed out to Welsh officials that a ban in Wales would simply mean that consumers would buy from English farmers and “smuggle milk over the border.” Our UK members are urged to contact Richard and provide him with support at (01364) 631-212, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles on International Raw Milk Updates (Also linked under country above)
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