Unpasteurised milk could soon be available from vending machines after the majority of responses to a consultation on the matter appeared to show an appetite for wider access to the product.
The findings of a consultation are expected to be presented at a Food Standards Agency board meeting today, following a decision two years ago to review the current controls around the consumption of raw milk and cream in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Recommendations state: “The overarching conclusion from the event is that there is an appetite among producers and current raw drinking milk (RDM) consumers for increased consumer access to RDM and general support from both consumers and producers for appropriately stringent control measures to deal with the risks associated with consumption of RDM and ensure the product is as safe as possible.”
Currently RDM from cows can be sold on a restricted basis and is subjected to strict labelling requirements. Of four options arising from the consultation, introducing measures to harmonise and clarify current controls, is the preferred step.
The FSA recommendations do not cover Scotland, where RDM is banned. Full-scale access to raw milk will not be recommended due to safety concerns.
“There is insufficient evidence to allow these risks to be quantified but given the severity of the disease associated with pathogens that might be present in RDM, full liberalisation of sales is not considered appropriate at this stage,” the recommendations state.