3 things you need to know about the new raw milk rules

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature Warning: Raw Milk -

Next March, new rules on the sale of raw milk will come into force, de­spite strong op­po­si­tion from sci­en­tists, health of­fi­cials and groups like the NZ Vet­eri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion. All say it poses a huge health risk in terms of food­borne ill­ness and food safety.

The of­fi­cial line from the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries is it does not rec­om­mend drink­ing raw milk. In par­tic­u­lar, the young, frail, el­derly, preg­nant and im­muno-com­pro­mised (ie, those whose im­mune sys­tem is weak­ened) should avoid con­sum­ing raw milk be­cause they are at great­est risk from in­fec­tion.

You’ll be able to buy as much raw milk as you like

Cur­rently the law re­stricts sales of raw milk to the farm, with a limit of five litres per per­son. As of 1 March 2016, there will be no limit on the amount farm­ers can sell to an in­di­vid­ual or the amount they can sell over­all, but raw milk can only be bought di­rectly from farm­ers for per­sonal and house­hold con­sump­tion. Raw milk can­not be on-sold to any­one else.

There will be new la­bels to ex­plain the dan­gers

No mat­ter how care­fully an­i­mals are milked, there is al­ways a pos­si­bil­ity of harm­ful bac­te­ria, such as Shiga toxin– pro­duc­ing E. coli, campy­lobac­ter and sal­mo­nella, be­ing present in raw milk.

To en­sure that all con­sumers are aware of this risk be­fore buy­ing raw milk, all point-of-sale ar­eas, both phys­i­cal and elec­tronic, and all raw milk con­tain­ers will be la­belled with the fol­low­ing:

• In­for­ma­tion about the risks around drink­ing raw milk;

• Ways to best re­duce these risks, in­clud­ing stor­age, use-by dates, and who should avoid drink­ing raw milk (for ex­am­ple, the young, preg­nant, el­derly and im­mune-com­pro­mised).

You’ll have to hand over your con­tact de­tails

Un­der the new re­quire­ments, farm­ers who sell raw milk to con­sumers must col­lect and hold all records of the sale in­clud­ing con­tact de­tails, date of sale, and vol­umes sold for trace­abil­ity and com­pli­ance rea­sons.

This means that con­sumers will be asked to pro­vide con­tact de­tails in­clud­ing their full name, ad­dress, and phone num­ber when buy­ing raw milk, which will al­low for con­sumers to be easily con­tacted if a batch of milk fails hy­giene and pathogen test­ing. Un­der the new pol­icy, you won’t be able to get raw milk de­liv­ered un­less you’re at home to re­ceive it. To man­age the food safety risks around home de­liv­er­ies of per­ish­able foods like raw milk, the MPI rec­om­mends con­sumers ar­range for their raw milk to be de­liv­ered at times when some­one is home to en­sure the milk can be re­frig­er­ated straight away.

Raw milk needs to be stored at 4°C or less and peo­ple should dis­card raw milk if it has been left out of the fridge and has reached room tem­per­a­ture.

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