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Raw drinking milk guidance

Guidance for food businesses on selling, sampling and testing raw drinking milk, including information on tuberculosis and raw cows' drinking milk.
Last updated

Raw drinking milk (RDM) for sale direct to the final consumer is a high-risk food product and as such is subject to stricter controls.

Approval and registration

If are not already registered as a food business, you will need to register with us.

If you are already registered but are now intending to start selling raw drinking milk, you will need to notify us of your intention to sell. 

You can register with us or notify us of your intention to sell raw drinking milk using the application for registration of milk production holding form.

If you need any advice or help with your application, you can contact us by emailing: approvals@food.gov.uk

Registration process

When we receive your application, the following will happen:

  • one of our Dairy Hygiene Inspectors will visit the holding and carry out an inspection - if conditions on the holding are acceptable, then a sample of raw milk will be taken and analysed under food hygiene legislation
  • once the sample has been analysed with a satisfactory outcome we will inform you and the local authority

Registering with local authorities

We will inform the local authorities about the proposed RDM operation, however you should also contact your local authority as they may wish to see the filling and bottling process.

Guidance for producers of RDM

This guidance will help you to understand your legal obligations and apply best practice.

It should be read in conjunction with the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and the Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006.

For the purpose of this guidance, you are classed as the occupier of the holding from where the milk-producing animals are kept.

We recommend that this document is read and understood before you begin production of raw drinking milk for sale direct to the final consumer.

Important

EU references in FSA guidance documents

The FSA is updating all EU references, to accurately reflect the law now in force, in all new or amended guidance published since the Transition Period ended at the end of 2020. In some circumstances it may not always be practicable for us to have all EU references updated at the point we publish new or amended guidance. 

Other than in Northern Ireland, any references to EU Regulations in this guidance should be read as meaning retained EU law. You can access retained EU law via HM Government EU Exit Web Archive. This should be read alongside any EU Exit legislation that was made to ensure retained EU law operates correctly in a UK context. EU Exit legislation is on legislation.gov.uk.  In Northern Ireland, EU law will continue to apply in respect to the majority of food and feed hygiene and safety law, as listed in the Northern Ireland Protocol, and retained EU law will not apply to Northern Ireland in these circumstances.

Raw cream

The sale of raw cream:

  • is not subject to the restrictions at production holding and milking premises
  • must comply with all the requirements that apply to milk products under dairy hygiene rules and microbiological standards
  • must be made with milk meeting the herd status criteria - milk may only be sold direct to consumers by the occupier of a registered milk production holdings and RDM must comply with dairy hygiene rules and microbiological standards
  • raw cream is not required to carry the health warning but the words ‘made with raw milk’ must be displayed on the product
  • compliance with these requirements is monitored through risk-based inspections

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