Two Southland raw milk producers believe current sale and transport regulations are limiting their ability to expand their business and they have told the Government that.
Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) invited raw milk producers and consumers to complete a national survey, which closed last month, about the regulations surrounding the sale of the product.
Pukerau dairy farmers Beth and Geoff Henderson, of Henderson’s Dairy Farm Fresh Milk, near Pukerau, have a 130ha self-contained property and run 280 cows, including 25 a2 cows. The a2 cows’ raw milk is unpasturised and unhomogenised and sold and delivered directly to clients. Mrs Henderson said they filled out the survey and highlighted several changes they would like to see around transport and advertising requirements.
She said as a registered raw milk supplier they agreed with most of the requirements, but she would like to see more flexibility with some of the rules and testing.
»I would like to see the ‘use by’ date of four days extended,» she said.
»A lot of our customers buy only once a week and we have had no complaints.»
»There is no reason why they [MPI] chose the four-day period and there have been no tests carried out, that I am aware of, to prove whether or not it will last longer than the specified time.
»Milk from a registered raw milk supplier is healthy because of the strict production rules and regulations and we have much higher hygiene standards than there used to be when drinking raw milk was usual practice years ago.»
She said another regulation required them to deliver the milk directly to the customer’s door rather than leaving it at a depot.
»With having to make deliveries, that restricts the number of sales we can do.»
Clients can also pick up milk from a chiller on the Henderson’s front lawn.
There are strict rules around advertising, which means they are required to have a text-heavy health warning statement included both on bottles and on any advertising.
»It costs so much and for the amount we pay it is uneconomic.
»While one or two people might read the health warning, many do not.
»It says raw milk can be harmful to children and older people and it makes it sound like it is not good.»
If they deliver milk it has to be from the same vehicle that leaves the farm unless it is from a registered depot, of which there are none in New Zealand that she is aware of.