New requirements about the sale of raw (unpasteurised) milk to consumers have now come into force.
The requirements follow an extensive consultation and review process and strike a balance between managing the risks to public health while recognising that there is a strong demand for raw milk from both rural and urban consumers, says the Ministry for Primary Industries Deputy-Director Regulation and Assurance, Scott Gallacher.
The new requirements recognise that raw drinking milk is a high risk food, carrying an increased risk of food poisoning relative to pasteurised milk.
“Farmers will need to meet the new requirements if they want to sell raw milk directly to consumers. It will mean more checks and measures in place to reduce the amount of food poisoning from raw milk,” says Mr Gallacher.
“Under the new rules, farmers will need to meet strict requirements such as ensuring their premises and equipment are appropriate, the animals are in good health, testing milk for pathogens, keeping records of sales, and appropriate labelling to manage public health risks associated with consuming raw milk. Farmers will also need to be registered with MPI and have their operations verified.
“In addition, there are no limits to the amount farmers can sell to a consumer but raw milk can only be sold directly to consumers from the farm or through home deliveries.”
The development of the regulatory framework for raw drinking milk was approved by cabinet in June 2015. Regulations were passed late last year, and more detailed specifications have just been released by MPI.
Farmers who currently sell raw milk to consumers will be given until 1 November 2016 to transition to the new requirements. MPI will be holding workshops for industry over the upcoming months to help farmers implement the new requirements.