Fine for Illegal Raw Milk

MannaMilk is prosecuted for not following food health and safety regulations

MannaMilk has been prosecuted by New Zealand Food Safety for not following regulations for the supply and sale of raw milk. The business from Horowhenua has been fined $30,000 for not complying.

"We expect today's sentence sends a strong message to all dairy farmers involved in raw milk production," said New Zealand Food Safety deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle.

The company owner, John Albert Martin aged 78, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Products Act. The charges included failing to follow raw milk regulations, selling raw milk and failing to comply with a notice of direction to cease processing and selling raw milk.

Raw milk is a much higher food safety risk than pasteurised, as potentially harmful bacteria has not been killed in the production process. Raw milk producers must register with New Zealand Food Safety, test their products for pathogens, meet all the hygiene requirements, keep a record of sales and label the products appropriately.

In 2019 New Zealand Food Safety carried out the Operation Caravan investigation, to ensure farmers were following regulations. Mr Martin attempted to avoid the regulations by distributing raw milk to customers through a different legal entity at that time.

"Mr Martin went to some lengths to avoid his responsibilities under the law. By contrast, most raw milk producers follow the rules and find it easy to do so."

"Compliance with the rules would have cost his company MannaMilk $10,000 to $15,000 a year, a small amount next to the $243,000 MannaMilk made in 2019."