Food Hall Charged by FSA Over Raw Milk

28 January 2013, 14:14 PM
  • The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is taking Selfridges to court for selling unpasteurised milk at its flagship store
Food Hall Charged by FSA Over Raw Milk

The case refers back to when the food hall installed vending machines which sold raw milk supplied by Stephen Hook, a Sussex dairy farmer, in December 2011.

They will be charged for putting public health at risk by breaching hygiene regulations.

The FSA said in a statement, “Summons have been served to both parties and a hearing date has been set for 6th February at Westminster magistrates court. The Food Standards Agency has confirmed its intention to prosecute Selfridges Retail Limited and the farmer who supplied the company with raw drinking cow milk for sale, Stephen Hook, for breaches of food hygiene regulations.

“The decision follows a detailed investigation, after vending machines dispensing raw cow milk were installed at Selfridges, in 2011. The FSA will consider taking action where it has evidence that regulations have been breached.”

Selfridges said it did not believe the move was illegal in 2012. Ewan Venters, who was the food director at the time, commented, “We have always supported unique products like raw milk. We see ourselves, like many farmers’ markets, as a platform to launch a variety of choice for our customers to enjoy.”

Mr Hook, owner of Hook & Son, who has been selling raw milk since 2007, said, “The benefits of raw milk are huge. We’ve had customers that suffer from eczema, asthma and other allergies, which have all cleared up after drinking unpasteurised milk. It lowers bad and raises good cholesterols and fights infection.

“Roughly 80% of lactose intolerant people can drink it as it has enzymes in that can digest lactose milk sugar. We’ve got all sort of people who love our milk, including nutritionists, bodybuilders and a lot of ethnic groups, because that’s what they grew up with and enjoy the most.”

Bradley Smythe, spokesman for the FSA
“There is an inherent food safety risk associated with drinking raw milk because germs normally killed by pasteurisation may be present. The germs which pose the most risk are those associated with faecal contamination like E.coli and Salmonella, and tuberculosis is also a risk. The sale of raw milk is therefore strictly controlled – older people, infants and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning, so we advise them not to drink it.

Currently in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, unpasteurised cows’ milk can only be sold direct to consumers from farms or direct from the farmer. This includes routes such as farmers’ markets and milk rounds, or as part of a farm catering operation. The sale of raw milk is not allowed in Scotland.”

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