In 2014 the UK’s Food Standards Agency attempted to ban raw milk following heavy lobbying by Dairy UK.
Fortunately enough public interest occurred for a public consultation even to be arranged with us entering this event energised by a successfully 2014 WAPF Conference in UK. The central London venue was full with hundreds of people and we thank the FSA for putting on such a professional and open consultation where they genuinely did listen to producers and consumers.
Ultimately raw milk won and remains legal, except in Scotland where it has sadly been banned since 1983. There are at least 50% more raw dairies now than then, click here for our raw milk map to find your local farm.
Philip Ridley on behalf of the Weston A. Price Foundation demonstrated that raw milk had an exemplary safety record, presenting the science of raw milk safety. We demonstrated that the FSA had failed to provide a single study identifying that raw milk from registered farms is dangerous. All the studies identifying pathogens were from dairies that were not registered to sell raw milk to the public. No distinction was made between wholesale raw milk for processors and registered raw milk for consumers. We agreed with the FSA that processor milk must be pasteurised, successfully making the argument that registered raw milk should not be banned.
We also heard from consumers, farmers and the Food Standards Agency’s microbiological advisors. Also from the corporate lobbyists Dairy UK, who were behind calls for the ban.
Steve Wearne – Director of Policy, Food Standards Agency
Steve Wearne was appointed Director of Food Safety in July 2013, the role becoming Director of Policy two months later. Previous to this he was Director of FSA Wales. Steve is a scientist by training, with a degree in biochemistry and a spell of postgraduate research in molecular biology. Steve joined the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1990 and held a range of posts in food science and food policy development, before transferring to the Food Standards Agency when it was launched in 2000. His first post in the Agency was head of the Private Office and Private Secretary to the first Chair of the FSA, Sir John Krebs (now Lord Krebs).
Philip Ridley – Weston A. Price Foundation
Philip Ridley is London Chapter Leader and an Honorary Board Member of The Weston A Price Foundation, which campaigns for ‘wise traditions in food, farming and healing.’ The foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient dense foods to diets and is concerned about ‘malnutrition from modern processed foods’. The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the foundation. It campaigns for full fat un-homogenised unpasteurised milk from grass fed cows produced under regulated conditions.
Professor Sarah O’Brien – Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF)
Professor Sarah O’Brien was appointed to the ACMSF in 2001. A Consultant in Public Health Medicine, she is currently Professor of Infection Epidemiology and Zoonoses at the University of Liverpool. Her research interests include foodborne zoonoses. Previously she was Head of Gastrointestinal Diseases Division at the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections where she was responsible for assessing data and generating, through surveillance and research, the evidence base for the origins and spread of gastrointestinal infection. She has published widely on these subjects. Sarah is also a member of the Food Standards Agency’s Epidemiology of Foodborne Infections Group.
Peter Campbell-McBride – Raw milk consumer
Peter was an engineer who spent the last twenty years before retirement working with medical imaging systems, principally MRI, CT, and Ultrasound. He and his family have been raw milk drinkers for over ten years. Peter supported his wife’s work as a medical doctor, Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, who has been published worldwide on the combined effect of digestive function and neurological conditions, presenting at many international conferences. Peter was also involved with raw milk regulations in the USA.
Tim Bennett, Chair of the Food Standards Agency explaining the role of the Agency regarding raw milk.
Steve Hook – Hook and Son
The Hook family have been farming for over 250 years. Steve and his father Philip run a 70-cow organic dairy herd and started selling unpasteurized milk in 2007. Today, they sell all of their milk as unpasteurized milk, cream and butter, via two local doorstep rounds, eight farmers markets in London, and via the internet. Hook and Son supply nearly half of England’s current raw milk market, and now employ 17 people. Steve’s family and farm life was featured in the recent documentary film The Moo Man released in 2013.
Debbie Vernon – Ellie’s Dairy
Debbie Vernon and David Shannon founded Ellie’s Dairy in 2004. They started with three goats and now have around 400 animals of which around 200 are adult milking goats. The company is based on the North Kent Downs and is thought to be the largest producer of bottled raw goat’s milk in the country. David is from a dairy and beef cattle farming family, Debbie was an archivist and IT manager. Although not certified organic, Debbie says they farm ‘ traditionally’ and work to the highest standards of responsible and ethical farming. She says they believe in raising their animals in as natural an environment as possible.
Luisa Candido – Dairy UK
Luisa is the Nutrition and Technical Manager at Dairy UK. Her main responsibility is providing legislative and regulatory updates to dairy producers and she leads on industry responses regarding technical issues. Luisa is also in charge of coordinating Dairy UK’s position on nutritional matters within the European Union and she is a member of a number of committees within the European Dairy Association and the International Dairy Federation. She is currently conducting Dairy UK’s response on the review of raw milk controls. Before joining Dairy UK Luisa worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization as a supervisor of the Food Security and Nutrition Forum. She has a BSc in Nutrition from King’s College London and is a registered Associate Nutritionist.