51 days ago

Yes, We are still selling raw milk 24/7!!!

Riverside Milk

Yes, WE ARE OPEN - and not affected by the nation wide shut down of 'non-compliant' raw milk suppliers. You may wonder why we are not among the Ministry's victims...

Well, the answer is simple (but longish): We, at Riverside Milk, have worked hard (think tears, nervous breakdowns, bouts of depression, sweat soaked overalls, bleeding limbs etc) to follow the legal framework set up by the government, and to ensure our raw milk is 'fit for human consumption' (as the MPIers like to call it). Whatever we personally think of the regulations, we know that all customers can rest assured, because we are being held accountable every step of the way.

Those of you who have followed us over the years have seen us struggle with MPI regulations around raw milk. We had to upgrade our milk vending shed, buy a chilled vehicle to transport our milk the few metres from our dairy shed to our vending machine, had to employ extra staff to keep the shed scrupulously clean, are asked to pay regular, juicy fees, have to document every step of our being, need to comply with a super stringent milk testing regime and get to entertain all sorts of serious people from all sorts of serious 'human and animal health agencies' (including the Ministry of Primary Industries).

Oh, and then we also had to ask YOU, our estemeed customer, to register your souls away as 'raw milk customers', so that we can contact you if the lab shows a speck of dirt in a milk sample. Funny fact on the side: when we started to follow the MPI rules to register our customers' names and addresses, the MPI got back to us with a complaint of not following the Privacy Act, because we were asking customers to write down their names and addresses (just like they told us to do). Go, figure... (We now have a letterbox to keep your registrations forms safe, until we lock it away in a secret and invisible dimension in our office.)

As a registered raw milk supplier, we are also required to plaster a warning notice almost everywhere the eyes of a raw milk customer may potentially wander. On the walls in the vending shed, on the vending machine, on our bottle stickers, on our flyers, on our online platforms, on all printed advertisement, on our forheads. Everywhere you look, we have to inform you loud and clear about the terrible dangers of raw milk consumption. And let us tell you that it is a truly heart-warming exercise to sell our beloved humble pure milk under similar slogans as cigarettes and hard-core prescription drugs.

Because we are registered with the MPI, any sample returning an unfavourable lab result strikes terror in our hearts. Acute, soul destroying, nail curling, cold-sweat terror is an accurate description of our inner lifes in the hours following such a result. Our staff is running around like maniacs, trying to find the portal through which a speck of dirt may have entered the sample and ruined a whole week worth of work because we are going to be shut down no matter what, and no matter if the result came from a sample taken 10 days before. Our farm manager is glued to his phone, talking to the authorities, justifying at times a result which would be considered utterly insignificant in some European countries. It's madness, utter madness... (Fun fact: Once our sample has been sent to the lab, it takes several days before a result is being communicated to us, because different microorganimsm have to be grown in the lab for a set amount of days - meaning that by the time we receive any information, you will have likely consumed the milk anyway.)

The reality is that raw milk is a living product, teeming with bacteria and microorganisms - good ones and not so good ones at times. It's not sterile, but it's also not something which you need to handle with an ebola suit. Unless you have a compromised immune system or are new to the whole raw milk thing, exposure to some unfavourable microorganisms is not necessarily a bad thing. It promotes a healthy immune system, it can enhance your healh and reduce the likelyhood of requiring antibiotics (that's a good things these days, we reckon). That doesnt mean that we like salmonella, e.coli, campylobcater and all their other friends. We accept that at some stage we may have to deal with the aftermath of a tiny party of microorganism with not so pretty names, and that's ok as long as you are aware of these parties and how they may affect someone with a compromised immune system (that's a not too shappy aspect of the whole MPI scheme). Let's get real here: Our milk comes really straight from the cow. We don't offer you sterile or pasteurised milk. If you want that kind of milk, please head to the supermarket or ask the guys who people keep confusing us with.

So, to summarise this long post: We have invested heaps and loads and tons of energy and effort and resources and money into following the MPI's framework from the very start it existed. That doesn't mean we agree with it, but it does mean we have accepted full accountability for all aspects of our work.

It also means we are unlikely to fall victims to the MPI's current search raids and that we can continue to sell our raw milk to you. Today, we do not need to worry.

Tomorrow is another day...

Daisy (Communications & Marketing Manager at Riverside Community Trust)

Uh oh, better be safe. Here come the precious MPI Warning: 'Raw milk may contain Microorganisms that can cause serious illness. To reduce the risk of illness, the raw milk should be heated to at least 70 degrees celcius for at least one minute. This is critical for infants, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.'

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