A Raw Issue

Hi all, Michelle here. I am happy to share my space with a campaign I believe in:
They steal out money, then make us pay for their wrong doing, we end
up scared, broken and quite…the way they want us. And now…now they are
telling us what kind of milk we can drink. Well, they have gone a step too
fricking far. I would like to welcome Elisabeth Ryan from “Campaign for Raw” to share her thought
with us.
We always want what we can’t have, so
perhaps this explains why there has been such an increase in demand for raw
milk in Ireland lately. Since it became public knowledge that the government
was on a one way mission to ban raw milk there has been a huge upsurge in
demand. The problem is that with the ban on the sale of raw milk looming;
farmers who have the desire to sell raw milk aren’t really in a position to
make the necessary (albeit small) investments needed to enable them to bottle
on site and get their product to market. Currently, just three producers are
selling to the public, David Tiernan from Louth and Aidan Harney in Kildare as
well as the Allens in Ballymaloe, and customers have been flocking to buy it.
Tiernan’s milk has also been available through retailers, including Sheridans Cheesemongers
and A. Cavistons.
David Tiernan and Elizabeth
Fifteen years ago, the Irish
government banned the sale of raw cow’s milk for direct human consumption (as
milk). An EU directive then superseded this ban, allowing for the sale of raw
milk in member states.
Unfortunately, during the years
following, the fact that the sale of raw milk in Ireland was now legal escaped
everyone’s notice and a public consultation held on the sale of raw goats and
sheep’s milk in 2008 didn’t make much of a stir.
It was really only in late 2010 that a
few producers actually became aware that they could then sell raw milk. Shortly
after, however, the FSAI made it clear that their recommendation to the
government was to ban it all over again!
The Campaign for Raw Milk has been
encouraging the public to contact their local TDs and the Department of
Agriculture. Parliamentary questions  raised in the Dáil and letters and emails have
all elicited the same blanket response from the Minister for Agriculture.
It appears from the limited communications
that the government’s main concerns with any validity relate to public safety
and international reputation.
Plenty of other countries allow the
regulated sale of raw milk with no reputational damage and of the estimated 100’000
people in Ireland drinking raw milk (mainly farming families) just two cases of
illnesses related to raw milk have been confirmed in the last decade.
So, what are the risks? Mainly E..
coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. Let’s not undermine these bugs, but, let’s
also be clear that all foods carry a potential risk, some more than others, but
all foods…
There are many questions; Why is raw
milk banned when other foods with risks associated remain legal? Why can the
government not work with farmers to develop a system of regulations to minimise
risks? Why are we the consumer viewed as too stupid to make an informed choice?
These questions and more will be
examined at a debate in the Sugar Club in Dublin on 6th September.
Panellists will include representatives from both sides. RSVP to
irishrawmilk@gmail.com and see details on www.rawmilkireland.com

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Xavier,

    Thank you so much for your comment. I was often told that as a child too, I woudl hate to see a ban being put on it now.


  2. This is a very interesting article and I remember as a boy being told by my granny when I went to the Gaeltacht not to drink the raw milk they served for breakfast because it would give us TB.

    I think the problems that are arising in the world to do with the food we eat and drink is the way we treat the animals that provide us with the food and drink.


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