‘Devastated’ dairy producer speaks out against recall

By Alice Foster

- Last updated on GMT

Barton Farm Dairy owner Linda Wright on stall selling products
Barton Farm Dairy owner Linda Wright on stall selling products

Related tags Milk

A raw milk and cheese producer claims her business is being closed down due to an unnecessary recall over salmonella fears.

Barton Farm Dairy in Devon has accused the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of harassment for ordering it to recall soft cheese and stop selling raw drinking milk.

But the FSA rejected the allegation saying salmonella was found in a batch of Kentisbury Down soft cheese and the milk contained unsafe levels of microorganisms.

Barton Farm Dairy owner Linda Wright disputed the basis for the recall announced this week and said the farm’s own test results had proved negative.

Dairy slams recall

“It’s devastating that we have lost all our business." 

  • Linda Wright, owner of Barton Farm Dairy

 ‘Closed down business’

“They have closed down our business. I was just about to go all the major Christmas markets and food festivals,” ​Wright said.

“It’s devastating that we have lost all our business. It’s all come as a shock so we have to review our future here.”  

Wright said the FSA announced the recall on Twitter, without their knowledge, and asked the dairy to issue a recall notice on Tuesday (October 20) after previously telling them to wait for further test results.

She said the local environmental health officer first took the cheese for testing while she was out selling milk on October 7. 

‘Ours showed negative’

She said: “The first test they took showed there was salmonella in their sample. Yet I sent my own sample on the same day, from the same batch of cheese, and ours showed negative.

“So then they did another batch of samples that also came back negative. They suddenly wanted to do a public recall.”

Wright said the FSA also shut her business down for six months last year, claiming its raw milk contained E. coli bacteria. “We can’t believe they would do the same thing to us again,” ​she said.

In a statement on its website, Barton Farm Dairy claimed sales of raw drinking milk were suspended due to “more harassment”​ from the FSA. It added: “Someone does not want us to sell milk.”

But the FSA said the level of microorganisms in the milk broke food safety regulations and inspectors were investigating the cause of the problem.

The FSA rejects Barton Farm Dairy’s claim that this action is harassment,” ​its statement said. “This is a completely unfounded allegation. The FSA has a duty to protect consumers from potentially harmful food products.”

Strict regulations control the sale of raw drinking milk because it is not pasteurised, a process that kills bacteria by heating milk.

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Bureacratic overkill

Posted by Victoria Cranfield,

A straitjacket of rules and corporate fear of having the finger of blame pointed for failing to act, means that common sense goes out of the window. The milk (which was the best tasting milk and will be sadly missed)is plastered (by law) with dire potential threats to human health so the question is 'what has happened to individual responsibility for what you put in your mouth?' I would happily, willingly, consume any of the recalled products. It is a devastating shame that a farm which retires rather than kills its cows and treats the environment and its animals well, feels so stressed it has to take this step.

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Posted by Stuart Beard,

This is quite frankly a disgraceful situation, Barton farm seems to be suffering from a modern day witch hunt last years "health scare" turned out to be complete and utter lies and I have no doubt that this is just more of the same. The FSA seem to want everyone to consume mass produced "factory farm" dairy products from cows that are constantly stressed and never even get to see the sun let alone a field not to mention the drugs they are given. I grew up on a farm drinking raw milk as did all of my family and neighbours, not one of us has a serious allergy and no one I know has EVER been harmed by drinking raw milk.

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Posted by Angharad Funning,

This is a shame. We recently bought your raw milk and really enjoyed it. Raw milk is a far better option nutritionally and it was nice to have the CHOICE to drink it which we don't have now in our area.

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