Food Law News - UK - 1997
3 November 1997: MILK - Ban on Raw Cows' Drinking Milk Advised
MAFF News Release (332/97), 3 November 1997
Ban on Raw Cows' Drinking Milk Advised
Sales of raw cows' milk for drinking could be stopped following advice from independent scientists on the Advisory Committee for the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF).
Raw cows' milk can contain harmful bacteria that could lead to food poisoning. After considering surveillance data on raw cows' milk the ACMSF concluded that the sale of raw cows' milk for drinking should be banned. The sale of such milk has been banned in Scotland since 1983.
Acting on the ACMSF's advice the Government proposes to stop the sale of raw cows' milk for drinking. A letter of consultation has been issued today.
Food Safety Minister Jeff Rooker said:
"Protecting consumers is our number one priority. The advice of the ACMSF is that this measure will protect consumers. We have acted on that advice. There is no reason why consumers should be exposed to this risk. The use of raw milk to make speciality cheeses will not be affected."
The ACMSF also recommended that surveillance should be undertaken on the microbiological status of raw drinking milk from sheep and goats. This work will be undertaken shortly.
Responses to the consultation should be sent, by 19 January 1998.
The News Release also contains the following notes:
- A consultation letter has been sent to over 180 interested parties inviting comments on a proposal to ban the sale in England of raw cows' milk for drinking. Similar consultation exercises are to be conducted in Wales and Northern Ireland. The Dairy Products (Hygiene) Regulations 1995 currently restrict sales of raw milk in England and Wales to those made directly from farms or via a milk round. The sale of raw cows'drinking milk in Scotland has been banned since 1983.
- The Dairy Products (Hygiene) Regulations (SI 1995/1086) as amended implement Directive 92/46/EEC as amended. They lay down health rules for the production and marketing of raw milk, heat treated milk and milk based products and came into force on 9 May 1995.
- The Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food is an independent expert committee jointly supported by MAFF and the Department of Health. It advises Ministers on the microbiological safety of food and the Government's microbiological food safety programme. The ACMSF has a broad membership including academic, health, industry and consumer interests.
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