The Raw Milk Producers Association (RMPA) was created amid plans by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to tighten controls around the sale of raw milk, prompting producers to collaborate with each other and the Government to ensure the new controls are “proportionate and supportive”. The group claims to be the first of its kind in any country to work in partnership with the Government.
The creation of the RMPA followed a period of growth for the sector, with the number of registered producers of raw cows’ drinking milk in the UK growing from 114 in 2016 to 180 in 2018. However, the sector still only accounts for 0.01% of total milk sales, according to the National Farmers Union.
Working with the FSA
RMPA chair Jonny Crickmore said the organisation was keen to maintain a strong relationship with the FSA: “The organisation strongly believes it is mutually educational and beneficial that raw milk producers, consumers and the Government work together to bring better support and regulation to producers.”
Membership to the RMPA costs £100 a year, giving producers access to guidance on standards, hygiene and microbiological testing, as well as reduced rates on workshops and training days.
“The training days will help bring producers up to date with the government’s upcoming changes to raw milk legislation,” said the RMPA. “They will also include training in raw milk production best practice and provide networking opportunities.”
Illegal in Scotland
The sale of raw drinking milk is legal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but is illegal in Scotland. It can only be sold directly to consumers by registered milk production farms at the farm gate or farmhouse catering operations, by farmers at farmers’ markets or direct online sales.
Due to the nature of the milk being unpasteurised, there is a risk that raw milk could contain harmful bacteria that may cause food poisoning – such as E.coli or Salmonella. Consumers with a weaker immune system are advised not to drink it.