Regulatory standards for the sale of raw milk are being examined by the Irish Department of Agriculture, following years of uncertainty over the sale of the milk, which is not pasteurized.
Once the implications of EU legislation were realised, some farmers began to sell raw milk again but in 2011 the government said it would ban the sale of the milk on the advice of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
However, last year, the Department of Health received legal advice stating it could not introduce secondary legislation under the Health Acts and it told the Department of Agriculture it was a matter for it to decide whether to introduce the primary legislation required.
Asked if it was planning to bring this legislation forward, a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said the department was “currently assessing the options available to it to counter the risks associated with the sale of unpasteurised milk for direct human consumption”.
He said a particular option being considered was the introduction of specified regulatory standards to apply to the sale of raw milk. He did not give a time frame for the introduction of such standards. The spokesman said unpasteurised milk could contain disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli O157, salmonellosis and brucellosis.