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I just came across this petition for safeguarding our freedom to buy unpasturised milk.

Feel free to spread the word:-)


Hi Therese,

Thanks for this.  I was going to put my name down, but then I read the description and was put off by the numbers!  It says that nearly 1% of food-borne illnesses in the UK are from raw milk and I imagine that raw milk makes up only a very tiny proportion of the UK’s diet - so the chances of getting ill from raw milk must be quite high?  Their argument thereafter is also poorly presented.

I haven’t ever bought any but I was pro raw-milk; now I’m not so sure. I’ll have to try and find out what the benefits are over pasteurised cows milk and see if they outweigh the risks…

Husband to an amazing wife and learning all the time from twins boys (Dec 2007) and their younger brother (March 2011)

Hi DaddyTom,

I appreciate your argument.
My thoughts on this is that we should have the right to choose to take that risk.

In my opinion it is not the authorities’ job to make any possible risk illegal (and we all know they allow much more dangerous products and practices anyway). I would be quite happy for raw milk to be sold with a warning that is based on good science, I just think we should have the right to choose raw milk if we want to.

On the same basis, I would oppose making cigarettes illegal (or alcohol and all the other things that involve some risk), because I believe we should have the freedom to choose, and make decisions for ourselves:-)

Also, don’t forget that many people are now used to milk that keeps for a long time. If they buy raw milk they might not realise that raw milk doesn’t keep that long. That could be one reason why some people have contracted bacterial illness from drinking it.
Also, it could be from drinking raw milk from a non-commercial source (i.e. one that isn’t inspected and products tested), and cleanliness is of course important.

Just my thoughts:-)


So well said, Therese. I’ve drunk unpasteurised milk regularly since I was 6 and have never been made ill by it. My DD has drunk it ever since she stopped breastfeeding at 14 months, and also has never been made ill by it. Totally without scientific proof, I think part of the reason DD almost never gets upset stomachs or the bugs that go round school is down to drinking raw milk. Her stomach is used to dealing with benign bacteria and its flora may be stronger as a result. Maybe! It tastes quite different from pasteurised and I think people new to it find it takes some getting used to. I hate the taste of pasteurised!

Raw milk (lait cru) has been available in French supermarkets for at least 2 years.

growing green by baby steps

I can understand that argument, and I do agree that drinking raw milk is not the in the same league as taking banned substances (e.g. cocaine).  In that case, drinking raw milk shouldn’t be made illegal.  However, if you are going to produce a food for sale, there should be some requirement to make sure the food is safe.  Food is not restricted for sale in the same way as alcohol and cigarettes.

I don’t know where the information came from in the petition, but it gives the impression that this way of producing milk results in a large proportion of consumers becoming ill.  As you said, this may be because people are forced to source their raw milk from the ‘black-market’.  Perhaps there should be strict guidance regarding the production and sale of raw milk (maybe there already is?).

Although my gut feeling is that it should probably be legal to sell raw milk, I would have to be convinced that this could be done safely first.

Husband to an amazing wife and learning all the time from twins boys (Dec 2007) and their younger brother (March 2011)

The production and sale of milk, pasteurised or unpasteurised, is strictly controlled in this country, particularly if it is labelled ‘organic’, which most unpasteurised milk is. There already are stringent controls and tests in place for those who sell unpasteurised milk legally. A farmer wishing to do so must have the milk tested regularly and obtain a licence before selling raw milk, and can only sell it to the end-consumer, hence no wholesale and therefore no supermarket sales. Therefore if some does make someone ill it can easily be traced directly back to the farmer who sold it. The legalities of the licences were rather absurd, however. A licence to sell at the farm gate did not cover sales directly to the end-consumer at a farmers’ market stall, even though the milk came from the same place and might be being sold to the same people who bought it from the farm. I think this has now changed.

Illegal sales are no more regulated than they are of any other illegal substance! That said, a dairy herd in this country which is producing milk for sale after pasteurisation but that has not been licensed for sale unpasteurised is so strictly regulated and tested that its milk is unlikely to be any more dangerous than that from a licensed herd.

growing green by baby steps

DaddyTom - 02 October 2012 01:08 PM

Although my gut feeling is that it should probably be legal to sell raw milk, I would have to be convinced that this could be done safely first.

I agree with you!
The good news is that it is already being done safely:-)

Considering there are quite a few farmers who sell raw milk (look at the map), I think it is nice to know that in the last 10 years there have been no reported outbreaks of illness associated with raw milk (according to petition text).

One of the suppliers of raw milk writes on their website:

“Before pasteurisation, raw milk had associated health risks. Tuberculosis and Brucellosis were found in many herds at the time, and these diseases could be passed on through the milk. Also, the actual milking process was very basic allowing contaminants into the milk that contained bad bacteria such as E.coli. So there were problems many years ago.

But what about today? In the UK, Tuberculosis and Brucellocis are virtually eliminated from all herds following an eradication programme over the last few decades. Our Hailsham Herd established in 1959 has always been TB and Brucellocis free Todays herds are milked in a hygienic environment, using advanced milking equipment that is kept sterile. We pay fantastic attention to hygiene to ensure the strict bacteria tests conducted on the milk by the Food Standards Agency are easily met. Today, our milk is regularly analysed and milking plant regularly inspected to ensure that the cleanest milk is produced. In this way all the benefits of the good bacteria in the milk are kept, without having any of the problems associated with bad!”


OK then, you have won me over!  Nothing in the last 10 years plus the potential for probiotics seems pretty good to me.

Husband to an amazing wife and learning all the time from twins boys (Dec 2007) and their younger brother (March 2011)

Yeay!! :-D


I grew up drinking “raw” milk and never got ill.
Think it’s barmy that I’m not allowed to choose which type of milk, cheese, butter, honey etc that I want to eat.

I’m also astounded at how expensive “raw milk” is!  I briefly went halves with a client to have raw milk couried to us.  I stopped doing it, because in my opinion it wasn’t raw milk; there was very little discernable difference from pasteurised, and crucially no thick cream.  I grew up milking our cows and drinking their milk; I know what raw milk looks and tastes like; I don’t know what that farmer had to do in order to be able sell it as “raw milk”..but no way that was real raw milk.

Jx  - Freeform Crochet Art.

My blog:

LETS membership # 52 - HOME!

The thing which has infuriated us for a couple of years is how all ‘off the shelf’ milk is blimmin homogonised, apparently because “the public demand” it, which I doubt. Xx L

learning every day from small bear July ‘08, and baby bee April ‘12

I find there are a lot of ‘public demand’ excuses when it comes to what products are available.
If you are near a Waitrose you can get non homogenised milk from Duchy, or you can get it delivered with a vegbox (or without) from Riverford:-) That’s Riverford’s own milk, not Duchy.
Hope that might help;-)


Thank you Therese, I’ll chase those up. We seem somehow to get through huge amounts of milk in this house which I’m not hugely comfortable with. I’d love raw milk ideally but I don’t think we have the budget, perhaps if I ration the milk and get raw we’d be healthier on two counts:-) I’ve never gone for Riverford before because it’s not really local, but non-homogonised milk will make me reconsider. Joxy you’ve given food for thought too, thanks for that, it’s really frustrating isn’t it. We discuss this at home every few months and then shelve it as we can’t reach a solution. Xx L

learning every day from small bear July ‘08, and baby bee April ‘12

Calon Wen also do non homogenised organic milk we have this delivered with our veg box.

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