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Raw Cows' Milk

Volume 301: debated on Tuesday 25 November 1997

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the full details of the data considered by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food in coming to its conclusions that (a) the sale for drinking of raw cows' milk should be banned and (b) its continued use in the production of cheese should be permitted. [17755]

The ACMSF considered the safety of raw cows' milk in its Report on Verocytotoxin-Producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) which was published in 1995.More recently, the ACMSF saw data from the 1995–96 Government-funded Surveillance of the Microbiological Safety of Raw Cows' Milk on Retail Sale. A full report on this project is currently being prepared and will be published in the joint Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food/Department of Health Microbiological Food Safety Surveillance series.The Committee also saw data from a Public Health Laboratory Service Study of the Microbiological Quality of Retail Raw (Greentop) Cows' Milk. Publication of these results is a matter for the PHLS.The ACMSF has not recommended the continued use of raw cows' milk in the production of cheese. Rather, the Committee has recommended research and surveillance into the prevalence of O157 VTEC in a range of raw food products, including raw milk cheeses. This is under way.