Food Standards Agency
Food Standards Agency tighten controls on production of raw drinking milk
The FSA has tightened the controls it expects to see in the production of Raw Drinking Milk in England and Wales, to protect public health and maintain consumer choice.
The FSA has worked closely with the Raw Milk Producers Association (RMPA) and other key stakeholders to reduce the health risks associated with raw drinking milk.
The raw drinking milk guidance document has been developed in response to an increase in raw drinking milk sales in recent years, alongside an increase in outbreaks of illness related to this product.
Raw drinking milk is not pasteurised, the process that kills off harmful bacteria. Instead, it goes straight from the animal to the bottle.
The guidance outlines the safety measures raw drinking milk producers must follow. They are legally required to devise and implement a safety system which assesses the things that could go wrong to affect the safety of their product and identifies controls to stop that from happening.
The FSA also expects producers to adopt recommended periodic testing for specified pathogens and indicators of poor hygiene and disease which can be found in milk. FSA Dairy Hygiene Inspectors visit farms producing raw drinking milk on a six-monthly basis to check whether adequate procedures are in place.
Michael Wight, Head of Food Safety Policy at the FSA, yesterday said:
“Raw drinking milk has a loyal following but is an inherently risky product because the way it’s produced increases the possibility of it containing harmful food poisoning bacteria. It’s important to strike the right balance between protecting public health, preserving consumer choice and supporting responsible business. Food businesses must follow the measures set out in this guidance in order to reduce the health risk to consumers from this product.
“The FSA will continue to monitor any health incidents associated with raw drinking milk to see if these measures are sufficient.”
FSA advice remains that pregnant women, infants and small children, elderly people, and those with weaker immune systems caused by health problems should not consume raw drinking milk.
Assessment of the evidence considered by the FSA concludes that the risk is not so unacceptable as to justify removing the right of adult consumers to choose to drink it. There is an expectation that responsible raw drinking milk producers will wish to enact these measures that are designed to ensure production standards are as high as possible to protect public health and consumer choice.
Tali Eichner, Membership Secretary of the Raw Milk Producers Association (RMPA), yesterday said:
“We are pleased to have been engaged in constructive dialogue with the FSA throughout the process of refining the new controls, aiming to ensure they are both practical for producers and focussed on improving food safety.
“The approach proposed by the FSA meets this need by enabling the producer to assess the risks in their own system and setting controls appropriate to their individual situation.”
The guidance, which will be applied from 1 April 2020, does not extend to dairy products made using raw drinking milk.
Existing legislation places the responsibility on producers to ensure that their milk does not present a health risk to consumers, and that they have identified and managed all relevant risks. Failure to implement an adequate FSMS could result in enforcement action being taken against a producer.
The FSA advises consumers to only purchase raw milk from registered producers. An 'FSA Explains' raw drinking milk video and further information is available on our website.
Latest News from
Food Standards Agency
Latest levels of AMR E. coli in beef and pork published24/11/2020 14:10:00
Food Standards Agency have published the results of an EU survey monitoring antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in beef and pork sold at retail in the UK.
FSA in England and Northern Ireland launch consultation on the Food Law Code of Practice, Practice Guidance and Competency Framework16/11/2020 11:10:00
The FSA welcomes your views and comments on the proposed amendments to the Food Law Code of Practice and Food Law Practice Guidance, and implementation of the Competency Framework.
Cutting plant in Bristol ordered to pay more than £60,000 for hygiene failings16/11/2020 09:20:00
Elite Poultry Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to apply ID marks, breaching temperature requirements and re-using cardboard boxes for the storage of meat.
Avian influenza identified in wild birds in South West of England12/11/2020 14:12:00
Routine monitoring has detected avian influenza (bird flu) in a small number of wild birds in the South West of England
'A vision for working together' - Address to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health09/11/2020 11:15:00
Transcript of FSA Chief Executive Emily Miles' address given recently (06 November 2020) to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
Avian influenza (bird flu) identified at Kent farm03/11/2020 16:12:00
The risk of public health from the virus is very low and this strain of avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
Avian influenza (bird flu) identified at Cheshire broiler breeder03/11/2020 12:25:00
The risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk.
FSA welcomes the outcome of the Hospital Food Review28/10/2020 14:10:00
The recommendations set out in the review aim to improve the quality, nutritional value and safety of food served in hospitals.
FSA to co-host an online conference - ‘Understanding Food in a Digital World’12/10/2020 14:10:00
Registration is now open for our free online conference, run in partnership with the University of Sheffield, on Monday 9 November 2020 as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.