Sleepless nights for farmer over raw milk scare

A Hawea Flat dairy farmer says he spent sleepless nights worrying about his customers after a batch of his raw milk was found to possibly contain campylobacter.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has issued a recall for several batches of Utterly Fresh Raw Milk with a use-by date of August 18 to August 27, after routine tests showed possible contamination.

The recall does not affect any other batches of the milk.

Customers are asked to check the batch number and date mark on the sticker placed on the milk bottles.

Udderly Fresh dairy farm owners Craig Wing and Lisinda Rickman sell raw unprocessed A2 milk from a small kiosk next to their Hawea Flat farm gate.

Mr Wing said he had contacted everyone who had bought their milk during the recall period and fortunately no-one had become ill from drinking it.

As soon as they were notified about the potential contamination on August 15 the kiosk was shut down but was able to reopen yesterday after getting the all clear from MPI.

''There's a lot of sleepless nights, when you get a test back like that, but like I said, we talked to everyone who had bought that batch and no-one was ill which was a huge relief.''

Five contamination-free tests of the milk are needed before it is allowed to be sold again.

The contamination scare emphasised the risks of drinking raw milk and people should only buy their raw milk from registered suppliers such as Udderly Fresh, Mr Wing said.

''It's proving the system works but obviously there is always a risk around people drinking raw milk and people just need to be aware of that when they are buying it and make sure the people they are buying it from know what they are doing.''

MPI confirmed there had been no reports of illness but if people who had consumed the milk had any concerns about their health, they should seek medical advice.

New requirements for the sale of raw milk came into effect last year which meant all farmers selling unpasteurised milk had to be registered with MPI, which requires farmers to ask all customers for their contact details.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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