All comments and views should be sent to
Primary Production, Food Safety and Operations
Food Standards Agency
10a-c Clarendon Road
Belfast BT1 3BG
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 Northern Ireland, England and Wales.
What is the purpose of this consultation?
To seek stakeholder views on the FSA's preferred option identified following a review of the current RDM policy; and to determine whether the assumptions are a fair reflection of costs, benefits and wider impacts for stakeholders.
The 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. The current rules in Northern Ireland, England and Wales 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 in 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, provide proportionate and effective consumer protection, and 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 and 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.