Raw milk knowledge spreading to other countries

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Raw milk knowledge spreading to other countries

Date: 
Wed, 11/02/2011

New Zealand and Ireland are both considering changes in their current raw milk laws.

According to two articles that came to us on the internet, both countries are beginning to consider regulating raw milk sales. At Food Safety News, the article explains that the minister for agriculture, Simon Coveney, is beginning a push for a total ban of unpasteurized milk sales.

A ban in Ireland was in place from 1997 to 2006. But a change in E.U. policy allowed the ban to lapse in 2006. The minister cites TB, brucellosis, E.coli 0157, Campylobacter, and Salmonella as reasons to explore the raw milk laws.

Other area countries do have restrictions in place. Scotland has banned raw milk since 1984, seeing a drop in milk-related infections since then. Wales restricts sales to the farm gate, but England actually has no ban because a 2002 review of their policy showed that few people drink it, and those that do don’t listen to health warnings.

Meanwhile, New Zealand has three options on the table, according to a Timaru (New Zealand) Herald article. The food safety minister of that country is proposing maintaining the status quo which currently has allowed sales direct to consumers since 1981.

But the two other options include making small changes to the “conditions of sale” (not described further in the article), or the ministry’s preferred option of making those same small changes to conditions of sale and also requiring farmers to meet animal health and hygiene standards. As we continued to search for the details of the “conditions of sale” and “animal health requirements” in this New Zealand proposal, we couldn’t find any online. We did find the agency’s original statement, however. It explains that they do not want to start allowing commercial sales, but will continue the allowed 5 liters (1.32 gallons) maximum of raw milk per farm per day.

Regardless, both countries want the sales to continue from the farm gate. No doubt, the reason behind these proposals is the evidence of falling milk-related illnesses in countries with bans. Obviously, a phase-in of more raw milk regulations is the more politically appetizing thing to do. As more countries explore these regulations, we expect to see more data supporting regulation of raw milk sales or bans outright.