25 Oct 2011

Red tape for farmgate milk sales under review

6:12 am on 25 October 2011

The Ministry of Agriculture wants to reduce the regulatory burden on farmers who sell raw, unpasteurised milk direct to the public.

The Government has released a discussion document on options for continuing farm gate sales of raw drinking milk.

The law as it currently stands lets farmers sell a maximum of five litres of milk a day per customer direct from their farms but they have to have a risk management programme.

Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson says the Government is not proposing to allow the commercial-scale sale of farm gate milk at this stage but is considering some changes to the regulations.

She says MAF's preferred option is to exempt farmers from a risk management programme.

However, they would still need to meet some animal health and hygiene requirements and to keep records of sales.

The original reason for allowing farm gate sales was to make milk available to local rural families who did not have access to pasteurised milk.

Submissions close on 5 December for that review, which is unrelated to another government review of milk regulations covering Fonterra's supply of milk to other processors and Parliament's milk price inquiry.