New Zealand farmers union Federated Farmers wants to see the fine print of the rules around selling raw milk before farmers will know it its worthwhile.
The Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew has announced farmers will still be able to sell raw milk to consumers, and the government will not be implementing plans to abolish raw milk sales, restrict their volume or prohibit home deliveries.
Dairy spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says farmers value having a range of selling options.
“The great majority of farmers will continue to supply dairy processors. But they value the option of selling the milk unprocessed for people who want to buy it raw. It’s the same as live animal exports. Most farmers will continue to supply a processing market here, but like to have an option to sell elsewhere,” he says
“The trouble with the government announcement is the Minister’s list of food safety requirements. We have no issue with keeping milk as safe as possible for human consumption. Our submission to the government for instance wanted to prevent containers being reused. It’s also a reality if the raw milk trade was made illegal then a black market would emerge and that would create an even greater public health risk.”
“But we do have a concern that pointless rules may be actually designed to make raw milk sales unviable while still keeping the sales technically legal.”
Jo Goodhew says the government wants to make raw milk available and also make people aware of the risks of drinking it.
Andrew Hoggard says he has no issue with that approach.
“It’s one of customers making their own choice. They should also be aware of the risks of any food product. Everything we consume has some degree of risk. We certainly aren’t cavalier about it. If people get sick from drinking raw milk it does have the potential to cause concern in our international markets. So we do want clear, valid and enforceable rules. We don’t want rules for rules sake and so we are keen to know what is proposed.”
The new rules will come into force in March 2016 and Andrew Hoggard says Federated Farmers intends working closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries to get the best outcome.