More farmers were looking to sell raw milk to the public during the pandemic as consumer habits evolved.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) head of field operations Simon Tunnicliffe said there had been an increase in diversifications as the industry and the FSA adapted to the pandemic.
“Consumer habits have changed. There have been increases in diversifications, selling raw drinking milk, pasteurising their own on-farm and selling ice cream and cheese,” he told a Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers business and policy conference.
The FSA had introduced new controls on raw drinking milk in April 2020 and had achieved implementation with 90 per cent of producers as it looked to ‘improve consumer health while promoting public choice’.
All of the FSA’s visits were now announced to adhere to safety measures. Pre-Covid-19, all visits were unannounced.
They had also been collaborating more closely with Red Tractor on farm assurance and with local authorities as diversification’s increased.
But Mr Tunnicliffe added they did intend to return to unannounced inspections when possible.
“We expect Covid-19 is here for the foreseeable. It is important we change as the guidance changes,” he said.