Raw drinking milk and cream

Last updated:
28 July 2016
Unpasteurised or ‘raw’ milk and ‘raw’ cream may contain harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning. If you have a weakened immune system, you are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning and should not consume unpasteurised milk and cream. Vulnerable groups include pregnant women, infants and children.

Unpasteurised or ‘raw’ milk and ‘raw’ cream may contain harmful bacteria that cause food poisoning. If you have a weakened immune system, you are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning and should not consume unpasteurised milk and cream. Vulnerable groups include pregnant women, infants and children.

Pasteurisation is a process of heat treatment intended to kill bacteria and prevent food poisoning.

If you buy unpasteurised milk or cream – from cows, goats or sheep – make sure you keep it properly refrigerated because it goes off quickly. This means bacteria multiply and any risk of food poisoning increases.

Unpasteurised milk and cream must carry a warning saying that it has not been heat-treated and may contain harmful bacteria. In Wales only there must be an additional warning for vulnerable groups.

Every raw drinking milk producer must register with the Food Standards Agency.

Raw drinking milk and cream is banned in Scotland

You can find raw drinking milk or cream for sale direct to consumers on some farms, in farm shops and at farmers’ markets. A list of these producers that can sell direct consumers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can be found below, alongside their compliance ratings that arise from on farm official control inspections. This will be updated as required.

The compliance ratings refer to hygiene conditions of the milking process on the farm at the time of inspection, and the ratings that may be awarded are:

  • Good
  • Generally Satisfactory
  • Improvement Necessary
  • Urgent Improvement Necessary

A more detailed explanation of these ratings alongside the process for a producer to appeal the awarded rating and further information regarding raw drinking milk is available via the links the links below.