NZ government decision made on raw milk

New Zealand’s Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew has announced the Government’s decision to introduce a new policy around the sale of raw milk to consumers.

“Raw milk is a high risk food, particularly for children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“After extensive consultation and review, the Government decision will allow farmers to continue to sell raw milk directly to the public from the farm and via home deliveries.

“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.

“We cannot take short cuts for food safety. Requirements will be in place for those who trade raw milk, because no matter how carefully animals are milked the presence of harmful bacteria in unpasteurised milk can cause serious illness.”

Under the new policy, farmers must meet requirements such as registering with the Ministry for Primary Industries, meeting hygiene requirements, testing milk for pathogens, keeping records of sales, and labelling appropriately so consumers are aware of the risks and can make informed decisions about consuming raw milk.

“People who make cheese for their family will be pleased there will be no limit on the quantity of raw milk they can purchase, nor is there a restriction on the amount farmers can sell overall,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“We looked at a number of options during this review and decided against prohibiting or limiting volume of sales of raw milk.

“Our focus has been to ensure raw milk is available for those who actively seek it, and that people are well aware of the risks associated with drinking it. I believe this policy will achieve both these goals.”

The new requirements for farmers who sell raw milk will come into force by 1 March 2016.

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