Ban on milk sold from cows with TB

By Fiona Barry

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cattle

A gross lesion in a cow with TB
A gross lesion in a cow with TB
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) claims the risk of tuberculosis-infected milk is “acceptably low” despite the criminal conviction of a farmer who sold milk from infected cattle.

However, a discussion paper on ‘The Possible Health Risks To Consumers Associated With Mycobacterium Bovis and Milk’, by an FSA Advisory Committee states; “Milk from individual animals showing a positive reaction to the tuberculosis test must not be used for human consumption.

The controls on the sale of raw cows' drinking milk require that the supplying animals must be from a herd that is officially tuberculosis free.​”

Tuberculosis in cattle is caused by Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), bacteria which can jump the species barrier and infect humans.

The FSA added, where dairy products are sold unpasteurised, M. bovis can survive the production process and is present in short shelf life products.

Cow-swapping con

UK farmer, Timothy Juckes, was ordered by a judge to pay £51,990 ($79,100) last month for fraudulently selling milk from cows which were condemned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

He was told to destroy four animals, which had reacted to DEFRA’s tuberculosis tests, but instead sent four uninfected cattle to be slaughtered.
He received compensation of £5398 ($8200) from DEFRA for the animals which should have been destroyed, and continued to sell their milk.

Martin Liddiard, prosecuting for Gloucestershire Trading Standards department, told the court the fraud involved “the deliberate swapping of identities of TB reactor cattle with healthy livestock, retaining the reactor animal and producing milk from it, and, in one case, having a calf born to a reactor cow.​"

Juckes was ordered to return the £12,592 ($19,000) proceeds of the infected heifers’ milk, as well as paying £34,000 ($51,700) to Gloucestershire's Trading Standards department for fraudulently selling the milk.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Fresh Milk, Cheese

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