Raw milk regulations

Find out about regulations controlling the sale of raw milk.

Raw drinking milk surveys

Have your say by 30 April 2019

We want your help to determine whether the rules for processing and selling raw drinking milk in New Zealand are working as intended.

Tell us about your experience and your views by completing an anonymous online survey.  Each survey will take only 10 minutes.

One survey is for raw milk drinkers and consumers and the other is for suppliers.

The surveys close at 5pm on 30 April 2019.

To note

  • The surveys can be completed on your mobile phone.
  • If you have trouble accessing a survey, email food.policy@mpi.govt.nz 
  • Forward a link to this web page to other people you know who would be interested in participating in the surveys.
  • The surveys are similar to those we carried out in 2014.
  • This work is not about rewriting the rules nor making radical changes. It is an assessment of the existing system.
  • You’ll have another chance to have your say should any further work be done to the regulations.

Thank you for your help and willingness to share your insights.

Read more about raw unpasteurised milk

Requirements for raw milk

Requirements for the sale of raw milk to consumers came into effect on 1 March 2016. They were developed after public consultation, and are aimed at better managing the risks to public health while recognising the consumers demand for raw milk. There was a transition period for existing producers up until 1 November 2016.

Then Minister for Food Safety, Jo Goodhew announced the Government's decision on 18 June 2015.

Public consultation outcome and background

Summary of the regulations

Farmers will need to register with MPI to sell raw milk

Only farmers that meet the requirements are able to register to sell their raw drinking milk.

Raw milk must be home-delivered or bought at the farm

Collection points are not allowed under the regulations. Consumers need to go to the farm or have the milk delivered to their home by transporters who meet the requirements.

Labels must be used to highlight the health risks of raw milk

All containers and point-of-sale areas must display labels and notices that identify the health risks of raw milk. These notices and labels have been required to be in place since 1 November 2016 and must also provide:

  • use-by dates
  • information on refrigeration
  • the contact details of the farmer who produced the raw milk
  • specific warnings for consumers in high-risk groups – such as the young, pregnant, elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

You can have a weakened immune system through surgery, certain medications, and long-term (chronic) illnesses.

Raw milk can't be resold

Consumers can buy as much raw milk as they want for personal and household use, but it's illegal to onsell – either as milk or as part of another product like cheese.

Consumers will be asked for contact details

Farmers selling raw milk must ask for your name, address and phone number, which is recorded along with the volume and date of sale. Alternatively, farmers may provide a place for you to record these details. This will enable them to contact you if a batch of milk fails safety testing.

Risks remain

While these regulations are intended to better manage the health risks of drinking raw milk, they will not eliminate them. The safest option is to consume only pasteurised milk or to heat your raw milk to 70°C and hold it at that temperature for 1 minute. If you don't have a thermometer, heat the milk until it reaches boiling (or scald the milk).

Who to contact

If you have questions about raw milk, email info@mpi.govt.nz.

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