All comments and views should be sent to
Food Hygiene Policy
Food Standards Agency
1st Floor, Aviation House
London WC2B 6BH
Who will this consultation be of most interest to?
Raw Drinking Milk and Cream (RDM) producers, RDM consumers, the dairy industry and enforcement authorities.
What is the subject of this consultation?
An Impact Assessment on the options identified following a review of the controls governing the sale and marketing of RDM in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
What is the purpose of this consultation?
To seek stakeholder views on the FSA's preferred option that was identified following a review of the current RDM policy. Also to determine whether the FSA's assumptions are a fair reflection of costs, benefits and wider impacts for stakeholders. The overall objective of this review is to ensure that the controls in place to manage the food safety risk associated with RDM are proportionate and risk-based, taking into account the latest scientific evidence and information and views from producers, consumers and parties with an interest in this sector.
It is known that pasteurisation of milk prior to direct human consumption is a critical control measure and is the most effective means of protecting public health from pathogens which may be present in milk. Most milk and cream consumed in the UK is pasteurised. However, it has been recognised that some consumers prefer to exercise choice in continuing to have access to raw drinking milk and cream (RDM) despite the potential food safety risk associated with such products. Therefore, the current rules in England, Wales and Northern Ireland concerning the sale of RDM for direct consumption make allowances for restricted sales of RDM from cows and put in place labelling requirements for such milk when sold. RDM from other species is not currently subjected to the same restrictions, though some labelling requirements do apply to RDM from other species.
The current controls have not been reviewed for a number of years and we are aware that there have been developments in the marketing of RDM and an increase in consumer interest for raw cows’ drinking milk and raw milk from other species. For these reasons, along with the current Government focus on rural economies, the FSA Board recommended an evaluation of the current RDM requirements to ensure they are clear and consistent, they provide proportionate and effective consumer protection, and they are applicable to a developing market. In order to review the policy thoroughly it was necessary to assess the latest scientific evidence including outbreak data, the situation in other countries as well as stakeholder and consumer views on raw milk consumption and production practices to ensure controls are proportionate to the risk and reflect the changing market.
The sale of RDM in Scotland is banned; the Scottish policy is not under review and is outside the scope of this consultation as are the controls for raw milk products.