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Sussex farmer film star in trouble with FSA
A film star farmer’s dream week has turned sour after health officials decided to prosecute him for selling “raw” milk.
Steve Hook is the subject of an award-nominated documentary called Moo Man about his dairy farm in Hailsham.
Last week the 47-year-old jetted off to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA, for a string of swanky parties with some of Hollywood’s brightest stars.
Fighting his case But yesterday the Food Standards Agency announced he would be prosecuted alongside Selfridges under food hygiene laws for selling his unpasteurised milk in the department store’s food hall.
The FSA began an investigation after the department store installed vending machines selling his unpasteurised milk in 2011. Mr Hook was forced to remove them in March last year.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, unpasteurised cows’ milk can only be sold direct to consumers from farms or the farmer, including through farmers’ markets.
Speaking from the Sundance Festival, Mr Hook said he would be fighting his case.
He said: “It is regrettable that the FSA has decided to bring this test case against a small family farm, which we believe has in every respect complied with the strict regulations of the 2006 Act governing sales of unpasteurised milk in England.
“It is ironic that at the same time as the FSA was preparing the case against Longleys Farm, it was also consulting us on an upcoming review of the regulations governing raw milk sales – including sales through vending machines and over the internet, which were not foreseen when the act was drawn up.
“To bring a prosecution before the FSA board has even been presented with the evidence of that review seems to us to be pre-emptive and illogical.”
Summons have been sent to Mr Hook and Selfridges and a hearing date has been set for February 6 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
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