Raw milk regulations

New regulations have been developed to help reduce the incidence of illness linked to raw milk.

New requirements for raw milk

New requirements for the sale of raw milk to consumers came into effect on 1 March 2016. They were developed after public consultation, and are aimed at better managing the risks to public health while recognising the demand for raw milk from consumers. There will be a transition period for existing producers up until 1 November 2016.

Then Minister for Food Safety, Jo Goodhew announced the Government's decision on 18 June 2015.

Public consultation outcome and background

Summary of the regulations

Farmers will need to register with MPI to sell raw milk

Only farmers that meet the new requirements will be able to register and sell their raw drinking milk.

Raw milk must be home-delivered or bought at the farm

Collection points won't be allowed under the new regulations. Consumers will need to go to the farm or have the milk delivered to their home by transporters who meet the requirements.

Labels must be used to highlight the health risks of raw milk

All containers and point-of-sale areas must display labels and notices that identify the health risks of raw milk. These notices and labels are required to be in place by 1 November 2016 and will also provide:

  • use by dates
  • information on refrigeration
  • the contact details of the farmer who produced the raw milk
  • specific warnings for consumers in high-risk groups – such as the young, pregnant, elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

You can have a weakened immune system through surgery, certain medications, and long-term (chronic) illnesses.

Raw milk can't be resold

Consumers can buy as much raw milk as they want for personal and household use, but it's illegal to onsell – either as milk or as part of another product like cheese.

Consumers will be asked for contact details

Farmers selling raw milk will ask for your name, address and phone number, which will be recorded along with the volume and date of sale. Alternatively, farmers may provide a place for you to record these details. This will enable them to contact you if a batch of milk fails safety testing.

Risks remain

While these regulations are intended to better manage the health risks of raw milk, they will not eliminate them. The safest option is to consume only pasteurised milk, or to heat your raw milk to 70 degrees Celsius and hold it at that temperature for 1 minute. If you don't have a thermometer, heat the milk until it reaches boiling (or scald the milk).

Who to contact

If you have questions about raw milk, email info@mpi.govt.nz.

Last reviewed:
Has this been useful? Give us your feedback