The government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been planning to tighten controls around the sale of raw milk and producers felt this was the right time to collaborate together and with the FSA, to ensure the new controls are proportionate and supportive.
Raw milk sales in the UK have soared in recent years. While licensed farm-gate sales of raw milk are perfectly legal, there is very little in the way of official guidance or support for producers in terms of production standards, hygiene or microbiological testing.
The RMPA is globally unique, being the first of its kind in any country to work in partnership with the government. Historically there have been many raw milk producer groups formed around the world, but most have either been without the blessings of their country’s governing body or in active opposition to them.
“We are keen to maintain a strong relationship with the FSA,” says RMPA chair Jonny Crickmore. “The organisation strongly believes it is mutually educational and beneficial that raw milk producers, consumers and the government work together to bring better support and regulation.”
The aims of the RMPA are to:
- Bring together raw milk producers, many of whom are geographically isolated and provide networking and training opportunities
- Provide official government-endorsed guidance to producers on production standards, dairy hygiene and microbiological testing
- Provide a liaison service between raw milk producers and the government
- Provide an online forum in which producers can share knowledge, experiences and support one another
From 4 March 2019, any raw milk producer in the UK can join the RMPA. There is more information on the RMPA website at www.rawmilkproducers.co.uk
For a membership subscription of £100 per year, members will have access to all of the above services, including reduced rates on workshops and training days and quarterly newsletters.
They will also have access to free copies of a series of ‘best practice’ guidance booklets for Raw Milk Production, written on behalf of the RMPA by two leading international experts, Dr Cat Berge and Prof Dr Ton Baars, along with input from industry specialists, raw milk producers and microbiologists.
The RMPA is also offering three training days across the UK, featuring both Dr Berge and Prof Baars.
These events will be the North of England on 29 April, the Midlands on 1 May and the South of England on 3 May. The training days will help bring producers up to date with the government’s upcoming changes to raw milk legislation. They will also include training in raw milk production best practice and provide networking opportunities.
Photo: Gala Bailey-Barker