28 May 1998
Government leaves ‘green top’
farmers stranded

By FWi staff

THE Government is keeping up to 500 dairy farmers in limbo by dithering over whether to ban unpasteurised milk.

The Association of Unpasteurised Milk Producers and Consumers has called on the Government to hurry up and make a decision on the future of “green top” milk.

Sir Julian Rose, AUMPC chairman, said ministers have now had three months since the end of the consultation period in which to respond to farmers and consumers anxious to know the fate of unpasteurised milk. Yet they have failed to do so.

Jeff Rooker, junior farm minister, announced in November last year that he planned to ban the sale of unpasteurised milk as a public safety measure. The Government then announced a consultation period – which closed on 23 February – giving farmers and consumers an opportunity to voice their opinions.

Sir Julian said MAFF officials received 5,000 written responses to the consultation process, with more than 90% opposing a ban. Unpasteurised milk is consumed by about half a million UK consumers.

“MAFF appears to feel under no obligation to set a deadline for announcing the results of the public consultation process,” he said.

“How can these dairy farmers plan for the future when they still dont know if they have one?”

“It flies in the face of the democratic system for MAFF to now cut off communications with an industry which is needlessly put in the dock in the first place,” he added.