The majority of the milk that people drink in the UK is pasteurized using heat to kill off harmful bacteria. Raw milk isn’t, it goes straight from the cow to the bottle.
Raw drinking milk may come from any of these animals:
In the UK the sale of raw milk is regulated by the Food Standards Agency. These are their current rules and guidelines as of February 2022:
The UK food standards Agency advice on raw drinking milk and cream
This information is for anyone who is already consuming or is considering consuming raw drinking milk or products made from raw milk. The FSA policy is to support consumer choice while balancing this alongside the need to protect public health.
The FSA advises that raw or unpasteurised milk and cream may contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. People with a weaker immune system are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning and should not consume it.
- Pregnant women
- Infants and small children
- Elderly people
- People with compromised immune system such as cancer patients
How is the Food Standards Agency protecting people who choose to drink raw milk?
Hygiene regulations are in place to protect consumers. Raw drinking milk offered for sale must be from animals that are healthy and free from brucellosis and tuberculosis, from a farm that complies with hygiene rules and is routinely inspected twice a year, and labelled with the appropriate health warning.
Raw drinking milk and the law
The sale of raw drinking milk is legal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It can only be sold directly to the consumer by Registered milk production farms at the farm gate or farmhouse catering operation and also by:
- Farmers at registered farmers’ markets
- Distributors using a vehicle as a shop such as a milk round
- Direct online sales
- Milk vending machines at the farm
It’s illegal to sell raw milk in any other setting.
The Bottom Line
Raw milk needs to be produced in a more ethically, hygienic and sustainable (grass fed) environment than factory farmed milk. We recommend you use the Food Standard Agencies approved list to find a suitable supplier (not least because it’s illegal for anyone else to sell Raw milk).
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