Is raw milk an elixir of health and taut-skinned beauty or a carrier of disease and a recipe for a bad tummy? The jury is out, but one thing is for sure: devotees of the milk, which doesn't undergo the usual bacteria-zapping 15-second blast of 72C heat, won't be able to buy it in Selfridges for the time being.
Ewan Venters, the food and restaurants director at Selfridges, said the grocery chain had decided to "temporarily cease the sale of raw milk" at the concession the store ran with a Sussex dairy farmer, Steve Hook, owing to a new Food Standards Agency investigation into its effect on health. Hardly a surprise to rawies, as it was widely known that the store and Hook had been put on notice that they both risked prosecution if they carried on selling the in-demand drink.
The reason? Untreated milk has a chequered past. Historically it has been linked to the spread of TB and the Government stills warns that drinking it is a short cut to picking up salmonella, campylobacter and E.coli. The latter fear prompted the Scottish government to ban it outright in 1983.
In England it is legal to buy directly from farmers at markets. In London, primarily middle-class punters prize it for its high concentration of vitamins, enzymes and proboscis and have been loud in their support for the department store's initiative. But until the FSA reports, it's back to heading out to the Home Counties for a weekly pinta.