A long awaited Food Standards Agency (FSA) review of raw milk is predicted to begin in mid-October across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The FSA, which maintains that pasteurization is the best way to minimize health risks associated with drinking raw milk, acknowledges that there is a market for raw milk and will explore whether, and under what conditions, it should be legal to sell and buy the product.
According to the Agency’s Director of Food Safety, “… the policy review should include consideration of the current statutory controls to ensure they provide a clear, consistent and appropriate regulatory framework to control the public health risk, particularly in the light of developments in the marketing of these products.”
This review stems from the high profile January 2013 prosecution against dairy farmer Steve Hook, who sold raw milk through a vending machine in Selfridges’ department stores. The case was eventually dropped, but the future of raw milk is more uncertain than ever – especially with increased pressure from Dairy UK, a dairy interest group that is actively lobbying for the ban of raw milk across the United Kingdom.
Raw milk sales are one of the few segments of food law that is not regulated by the European Union, so countries across the EU have adopted different measures in allowing it. Philip Ridley, a Weston A. Price chapter leader in London, is concerned that the FSA might attempt to close the loopholes that currently allow the sale of unpasteurized cream and non-bovine milk, ban the ordering of raw milk from the internet, and ban the use of vending machines for selling raw milk.
He urges concerned citizens to speak up in support of the legalization of raw milk. People who want their voices heard can email Linden Jack of the FSA and ask to be included in the FSA consultation.
To learn more about events leading up to the FSA inquiry, check out the Artisan Food Law blog.
The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods. http://www.westonaprice.org/lab
I am currently a consumer of raw milk through the internet sales offered by Hook & Son. My family live in Scotland near Aberdeen and it is our only lifeline to getting raw milk. My wife and I make various fermented foods from the raw milk (keifer, yogurt,, cheese) as well as using the whey to ferment vegetables. Our family drink the milk daily and it raw milk is the only form that my wife can take without feeling ill and suffering asthma.
If sales were banned via the internet we would be completely without any source of raw milk and feel quite devastated.
I shall be at the FSA conference on Monday 31st March in London and look forward to hearing the contribution from Philip Ridlley and the others.