The Future Of Raw Drinking Milk

NEW ZEALAND - The future of raw drinking milk sales from the farm gate has Federated Farmers stepping back into the fresh milk issue. The Federation believes farmers and consumers should have the option of selling and buying raw drinking milk from the farm gate.
calendar icon 23 November 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

“What we’re consulting members on is the legal means to sell raw milk from the farm gate. Not that we want to compete with the supermarkets,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Why on earth would we when you can buy two litres of fresh milk cheaper at Karori New World than at Coles in Sydney? Perhaps some have realised consumers aren’t being ripped off; let’s face it milk has fallen off the electoral radar.

“What we’re talking to our members about is the old ‘five litre rule’ for selling unpasteurised or raw milk from the farm gate. These rules are long in the tooth and come from a time when pasteurised milk in rural areas was hard to get and fridges were a luxury item.

“Federated Farmers believes farmers and consumers should have the ability to sell and buy raw drinking milk. It’s why we need members to complete our online survey to give us the data we need. There are several options going forward and we need their help to form the right view.

“One option is to enforce requirements for a registered Risk Management Programme (RMP) on farm gate sales of raw drinking milk. That’s unattractive at the smaller sales end of a spectrum. Even the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) believes the cost involved with an RMP would see an end to most farm gate sales.

“MAF's preferred option is audited self-management, which would see farms granted an exemption to an RMP. In return, participating farms would have to meet certain animal health and hygiene requirements. MAF is also proposing a daily sales limit of 120 litres and six litres per customer.

“Going down that road would mean greater standards around storage, transportation and a paper trail to ensure compliance. A paper trail would also help in case the worst happened.

“Farmers would also have to assume legal liability for what they sell but buyers would be subject to caveat emptor; ‘let the buyer beware’.

“Members would have received the survey electronically. If not, they can to ring 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING) or email policy advisor, Ann Thompson, at [email protected].

“The survey will give us some vital information to inform MAF about what’s really happening. Farmers and Federated Farmers can then help MAF write workable rules and policy that will shape the sale of raw milk at the farm gate,” Mr Leferink concluded.

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