A farmer who starred in a full-length feature film on milking cows is to be prosecuted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Steve Hook, who is promoting The Moo Man at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival, faces charges of breaching food hygiene regulations for selling raw milk from his organic Friesian Holsteins through a vending machine in Selfridges’ London food hall.

Selfridges has been charged separately under the 2006 Food Hygiene (England) Regulations, which stipulate that raw drinking milk can only be sold direct by the producer from the farm premises, at a farmers’ market, through a farm catering operation or from a milk float.

Summons have been served to both parties and a hearing date has been set for 6 February 2013 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

In a statement the FSA said: “The Food Standards Agency has confirmed its intention to prosecute Selfridges Retail Limited and the farmer who supplied the company with raw drinking cow milk for sale, Stephen Hook, for breaches of food hygiene regulations.

“The decision follows a detailed investigation, after vending machines dispensing raw cow milk were installed at Selfridges, in 2011. The FSA will consider taking action where it has evidence that regulations have been breached.

“Selfridges has been charged as ‘a person other than the occupier of a production holding or distributor’ under Regulation 32 and Schedule 6 Paragraph (2) (1). Mr Hook has been charged, separately, as ‘an occupier of a production holding’, under Regulation 32 and Schedule 6(2) (2) of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations.

“This case is not linked to the current review of rules governing the sale and marketing of unpasteurised, or raw, drinking milk and cream in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The sale of raw drinking milk and cream is not permitted in Scotland.”

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