Raw drinking milk warning

In light of three separate incidents involving six cases of E.coli O157 – including five cases in children – potentially linked to the consumption of raw drinking milk, the FSA is reiterating its advice that this sort of milk should not be consumed by children and other vulnerable people.

Andrew Rhodes, chief operating officer at the FSA, says, “Long standing FSA advice has been that vulnerable people – that’s older people, infants, children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems – are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning and that is why these groups should not be consuming raw drinking milk because it has not been heat treated.”

The recent incidents have been linked to three farms and investigations continue into the cause. The FSA has suspended sales of raw cows’ drinking milk from each farm and recalled some products. It has also visited all premises that sell raw drinking milk to make sure that their milk is produced safely.

The FSA is currently reviewing the raw drinking milk controls and will continue to look at all evidence on the safety of raw drinking milk as part of this work. Most milk on sale in the UK is heat-treated to kill any harmful bacteria that could be present.

A health warning must be provided on raw milk bottles to inform consumers that the milk has not been pasteurised and may contain organisms harmful to health. In Wales only there must be an additional warning for vulnerable groups. Raw drinking milk is banned in Scotland.

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