Hailsham farmers raw milk charge dropped by Food Standard Agency

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Hailsham dairy farmer and star of film The Moo Man has raw milk case against him dropped

Stephen Hook had the court case brought by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) against him for selling raw milk in London store Selfridges dropped. Westminster magistrates discontinued the case after the star of film ‘The Moo Man’ agreed to stop selling the milk on non-farm premises. He and Selfridges had been accused of breaching food hygiene regulations

The retailer, which sold his product from vending machines, reached a similar deal in April.

Mr Hook had agreed to stop the practice while officials decide whether to change the law.

The 48-year-old, of Longleys Farm, Hailsham, was charged with breaching food hygiene rules that state ‘raw’ milk can only be sold directly from a farm.

Mr Hook faced charges relating to the sale of milk on six dates last year.

IThe FSA is currently conducting a review into the Food Hygiene (England) Regulation 2006, which will decide whether to legalise the sale of raw milk in vending machines in the future.

Its agreement with Hook & Son, the business Mr Hook runs with his father, Phil Hook, only concerns vending machines and does not affect the other areas of the company.

Speaking outside court, Mr Hook said: “They have offered to withdraw the prosecution and we have accepted the offer so the case has been dropped.

“The safeguards we have got on our farm go far and above the minimum the FSA impose. There is no suggestion that anyone that anyone who bought this had any negative health consequences,’ adding that his farm conducted its own weekly tests for pathogens.’

He added that selling raw milk was a ‘lifeline’ for small independent farmers, and called for the government to change the law to allow it to be sold through vending machines.

“I believe vending machines are important as a means of allowing a farmer who has not got a route to market or is not good at marketing, to sell their milk.

“It is a lifeline for small independent farmers and it could help to save the local village shop as well.

“I think it is a great way for a farmer to create a new income stream that could save the farm.’