|Farmer Stephen Hook and Selfridges will not face|
legal action after reaching agreements with the FSA
Friday, 10 May 2013
"Is Raw Milk The Monster? Or Is The Monster Government?"
Selfridges raw milk farmer Stephen Hook
to carry on selling
A dairy farmer has pledged to continue selling raw milk after a court case brought by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) was dropped.
Westminster magistrates discontinued the case against Sussex farmer Stephen Hook after he agreed to stop selling the milk on non-farm premises.
He and Selfridges had been accused of breaching food hygiene regulations
The retailer, which sold his product from vending machines at its London store, reached a similar deal in April.
Mr Hook has been selling unpasteurised drinking milk and milk products from Longleys Farm in Hailsham since 2007.
Vending machines dispensing the milk were installed in Selfridges in 2011.
But the FSA intervened in January this year, arguing that the sale of raw drinking milk from retail outlets was a breach of food hygiene laws.
Now, both parties have avoided prosecution after agreeing to cease the practice pending a detailed review by the FSA of regulations covering the sale of raw milk.
But Mr Hook, who says he is passionate about raw milk, will continue selling it, completely legally, through deliveries to homes in Hailsham and Eastbourne, at farmers' markets and via the internet.
And he is looking forward to taking part in talks with the FSA over the future regulation of raw-milk sales.Health risks
"It has all sorts of health benefits," he told the BBC after the case. "We have customers ordering our milk on doctors' orders."
He said raw milk was consumed by people with eczema, high cholesterol levels and lactose intolerance.
The pasteurisation process eliminates a lot of health risks in milk, particularly tuberculosis and brucellosis, and potentially harmful bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli.
But Mr Hook insisted: "Our cows are tested every year for TB and we have never had it. Brucellosis was eradicated as a cattle disease in this country in the early 1980s, so it is no longer an issue."
And he said staff at his farm maintained high standards in cattle maintenance, milking and milk storage to avoid the bacterial risks.
He said raw milk - selling for up to eight times the price of pasteurised milk - could prove a financial lifeline for hard-hit farmers.
And he warned: "If the FSA banned it, it would go underground."
"Taking Our Choices Away Daily"