1 Jul 2015

Greens wary over raw milk changes

2:45 pm on 1 July 2015

Changes in regulations controlling the supply of raw or unpasteurised milk may increase the food safety risk by encouraging a black market trade, the Green Party says.

Steffan Browning

Steffan Browning Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

A Government review means restrictions on the amount of raw or unpasteurished milk which can be sold direct from farms to the public will be lifted from March next year. However, there will still be strict hygiene requirements and tighter distribution controls.

Greens agriculture spokesperson Steffan Browning said one change in particular could be setting up the raw milk business to fail.

"The problem that it's likely to create is a deeper black market than previously existed at times and that could risk raw milk safety, because they've stopped the central collection points that some people were using, where they could actually keep milk in the best possible conditions," Mr Browning said.

"What is required now is that other consumers go directly to the farmer or the farmer delivers to consumers. It is possible that they may be able to find an agreement to be able to be delivered by courier but we're talking about a product that needs to be kept in optimum condition all the way and that people need to be home when the milk is delivered.

"What MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) is doing is reducing the possibility the milk being kept in good condition for an increased consumer base. I think the possibility of failure is higher now than previously."

Mr Browning said the requirement for farmers to record the full name, address and phone number of every consumer for every raw milk sale was also a draconian measure which went far beyond traceability demands for other products.

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