Raw Milk – have your say!

If you read Peter’s raw milk post you will know that the Food Safety Team at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) are seeking comment from the public on “Proposals for continuing to legally provide for farm gate sales of raw drinking milk”. It is important for anyone who wants to secure the future supply of raw milk in New Zealand to make a submission. I have summarized what I think are the important points in the document here.

(1) MAF has become increasingly aware of non-compliant activities that do not meet the requirements of section 11A of the Food Act or the intent of this section. These activities include ‘raw milk clubs’ where consumers order and buy milk from a dairy farmer over the internet or phone, and the farmer then has the milk delivered to a pick up point from which consumers collect their purchase.

(2) There is no proposal to prohibit the sale of all raw drinking milk. Farm gate sales of raw milk are a long standing tradition and current and previous Ministers for Food Safety have stated that they will be provided for into the future, in some form.

(3) Providing for the sale of raw milk for drinking on a more commercial scale is not considered appropriate at this time.

(4) Dairy farmers are required to operate under a Risk Management Plan (RMP) in order to sell raw milk at the farm gate however MAF is not aware of any practical or cost effective way of managing the food safety risks associated with raw drinking milk. Effectively MAF knows of no way to meet their own requirements for selling raw milk at the farm gate under current regulations.

(5) MAF have provided 3 options to consider for the future:-

Option 1
Maintain the current position. This would effectively stop the sale of raw milk at the farm gate until a RMP was developed that could satisfy MAF that the food safety risks of raw milk could be effectively managed.

Option2
Make limited amendments to conditions of sale and retain the requirement for an RMP. Irrespective of the amendments the requirement for a RMP would effectively stop the sale of raw milk as in Option 1.

Option 3 (MAF’s preferred option – also my preferred option)

- Only dairy farmers can sell raw milk, only from the farm gate with a limit of 120 litres per day.
- Limit to 6 litres per purchaser.
- Farmers will not be required to operate under a RMP.
- Only dairy farmers with TB free herds can sell raw drinking milk.
- Dairy farmers must keep records of who raw milk is sold to, how much is sold and when.
- Dairy farmers will be required to follow hygienic milking.

Option 3 is the only viable option in my opinion, however there should be a few amendments. The 6 litre limit is too low; it should be at least 10 litres. There are many families I know that consume 8-10 litres of milk in one week. I also know there are a lot of people who take turns to collect milk for each other. All of them visit the farm to collect milk, just not every week. Under option 3 that would be illegal but I can’t see any problem with it. The farmer could still record the names of the people who will consume the milk along with the name of the person who collects it on their behalf.

I encourage everyone who consumes or may want to consume raw milk to send a submission to MAF. Be sure to include your name and address, a little bit about your raw milk consumption now and what you would like to see happen in the future. Submissions close on 5the December 2011.

Send by email to:
MAFfoodpolicy@maf.govt.nz

or mail to:
Food Policy Team
Biosecurity & Food Directorate
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6104
New Zealand

Here is a link to the original document:
http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/farm-gate-raw-milk-sales/2011-11-raw-milk-farm-gate-sales.pdf

5 Comments

  • Trish says:

    I see no real reason why farmers should be regulated as to how much milk they sell or how many customers they sell to.
    I cannot see Mitre 10 or The warehouse, for example, telling their customer “sorry we’ve served 1000 customers today and reached our legal limit, we cant sell to you”.
    No other producer is limited in this way.
    All sales are already supposed to be recorded with gst receipts so there is no reason to add this to a food bill, it is already covered by IRD reg.s.
    Although I understand that the reason given is to track down people in the event of milk related outbreak.
    I dont like the idea of being on anybodies list.

    My feeling on this is that Fonterra want to know who is selling milk they think belongs to them and will be able to access this information to the detriment of the individual farmers.

    I also think that Fonterra is feeling threatened by the fact that more and more people are questioning their right to be the monopoly they are today and are either actively looking for alternatives that do not include them or already consuming farm fresh milk.

    I was told years ago, by a person who worked for ‘Anchor’(now Fonterra) that all milk belonged to them once it hit the vats and that farmers werent allowed to sell it so I stopped looking for a farmer who I could buy it from and am annoyed that I could have been giving my kids the same lovely milk as I got when I was growing up.

  • mooBlogger says:

    Hi Pryscila, where abouts are you? If you are in Christchurch email me mooblogger@milkme.co.nz otherwise take a look at the resources page for places to get raw milk.

  • Pryscila boroviec says:

    Hi I would like to buy raw milk and my phone number is …

  • mooBlogger says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Great to have input from someone passionate about raw milk! I agree, why should you have to go to the farm to get raw milk? But that is out of the scope of this proposal from MAF. As the title says “…legally provide for farm gate sales of raw drinking milk” What you are proposing is another battle.

    Yes 120 litres per farmer per day is an arbitrary limit. I am guessing MAF are using that figure to try to limit the availability of raw milk. My submission argues for that limit to be removed.

    Man! – I’d love to meet the cow that produces 120 litres of milk per day!

    Thanks for your input.

  • Stephen says:

    Are you kidding me?

    The recommended option is draconian.
    Why should people be forced to collect milk at the gate?
    If a farmer has a refrigerated truck then why would anyone with an ounce of justice or fairness want to prevent such a thing?
    The farmer is the best person to be able to bottle and deliver the milk and deliver it refrigerated to those who want to buy it.

    Also 120 litres per day – this is equally insane – yet you didn’t mention this.
    Many cows produce from 30-120 litres per day – so this effectively limits the size of the farm to anywhere from 1 to 5 or 6 cows depending on the breed..

    This law is designed to outlaw small farms and has nothing to do with safety of the milk or consumer.

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