Food Safety Minister Jeff Rooker said:
"We have received many requests from these small businesses to extend the initial consultation period which ran over the traditional Christmas and New Year holidays. It is important that there is adequate opportunity for all raw milk producers and consumers to have the chance to make their views known. Protecting consumers remains our first priority but in these exceptional circumstances we have extended the consultation period."
The original consultation letter was sent on 3 November 1997 to over 180 representative organisations and interested parties. It invited comments on a proposal to ban the sale in England of raw cows' milk for drinking. Similar consultation exercises are being conducted in Wales and Northern Ireland. The sale of raw cows' drinking milk has been banned in Scotland since 1983.
Raw cows' milk can contain harmful bacteria that could lead to food poisoning. After considering surveillance data on raw cows' drinking milk the ACMSF concluded that the sale of raw cows' milk for drinking should be banned [see 3 November 1997]. This consultation will not affect cheeses made from raw cows' milk.
The original public consultation was announced by MAFF on 3 November 1997. A separate letter was sent to all registered producers of raw cows' drinking milk on 3 December 1997 at the request of the Association of Unpasteurised Milk Producers and Consumers. The sale of such milk has been banned in Scotland since 1983.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.