A north Devon family-run dairy farm has been advised to stop selling raw milk to the public after salmonella was found in its cheese.
Tests carried out by local authority North Devon District Council found salmonella in a batch of cheese made with raw milk by organic dairy farm Barton Farm Dairy.
The affected batch of Kentisbury Down soft cheese has been withdrawn from sale because of the presence of salmonella, a bacterium that can cause food poisoning.
In an interview with their local newspaper, dairy farmers Gary and Linda Wright, who run Barton Farm in Kentisbury, Barnstaple, said the latest blow had come as a “real shock”.
The dairy farm is also under restriction while an investigation into bovine TB takes place.
“We’re all in shock,” Mrs Wright told the North Devon Journal on Tuesday (21 October).
“We were told yesterday that one of the old barreners had lesions when she was tested. So they put us on an 8- to 10-week restriction while they find out if she had TB. In the meantime we can’t sell the raw milk or cheese.”
Barton Farm is an organic dairy farm set in the rolling hills of north Devon. It is one of only a handful of dairy farms in the UK selling raw milk and artisan cheese made from it.
In a statement, the FSA said the local authority has found samples containing levels of micro-organisms that breach food safety regulations.
It said: “There are strict regulations in place controlling the sale of raw drinking milk because bacteria can be present that would otherwise be killed by heat treatment if the milk was pasteurised.
“The regulations state that it is an offence to sell raw drinking milk “that fails to comply with the microbiological hygiene criteria”.
“FSA dairy hygiene and local authority inspectors are working with Barton Farm Dairy to identify and resolve the cause of the problems to ensure the company is meeting its food safety obligations and the food they sell is safe.
“The FSA rejects Barton Farm Dairy’s claim that this action is harassment. This is a completely unfounded allegation. The FSA has a duty to protect consumers from potentially harmful food products.”