Hawke's Bay's Lindsay Farm, one of New Zealand's largest raw milk producers and suppliers, has been raided by the Ministry for Primary Industries and told to halt raw milk production immediately.
Lindsay Farm was one of several suppliers across New Zealand visited by MPI compliance staff with search warrants this week.
MPI said it had executed the search warrants on what it said were unregistered and "non-compliant" suppliers, following a year-long operation.
A MPI spokeswoman said milk already supplied by the likes of Lindsay Farm to collection points would be destroyed.
"Any raw unpasteurised drinking milk from unregistered suppliers found at collection points will be seized by MPI officers and disposed of," she said.
"Collection points are not permitted under the regulations."
Staff at Lindsay Farm declined to comment, apart from saying they were not in a position to talk about the "raid" and were in talks with lawyers.
The Central Hawke's Bay business is a 100ha family-owned and operated farm and has previously won multiple awards including the Be Pure Paddock to Plate award in the Green Agriculture Innovation Awards.
It has been run organically for more than 13 years and has been producing raw milk for more than nine years.
The property has 100 cows with about 50 in milk at one time and calving all year round.
They deliver milk around Hawke's Bay, and as far as Auckland and Gisborne.
In 2017 they told Hawke's Bay Today the business model for the farm had changed
because of the introduction of new regulations around the sale of raw milk.
They had created a farm partnership which people signed up to at no cost, becoming partners in the ownership of the herd of cows.
What it meant was the partners paid them to take care of their cows and milk them, and volunteers of the partnership delivered the milk to a collection point of their choice.
It meant that "in essence" they didn't sell raw milk, but offered people a service, Lindsay Farm said.
Lindsay Farm raw milk consumer and Hastings resident Tim Whittaker said he had been consuming the farm's raw milk for five years and loved it.
"They are scrupulous with their methods, and they have also said that if they ever tested positive for a pathogen their business would be down the toilet.
"They spend more time cleaning than they do milking," Whittaker said.
He said he knew at least a thousand families who drank Lindsay Farm's raw milk every day.
"I would imagine you would get passionate supporters."
MPI's manager of food compliance, Melinda Sando, said the purpose of the co-ordinated site visits was to gather evidence of the offending and to allow further investigation of non-compliant sales.
"We believe that the suppliers we visited today are operating outside of the regulatory framework.
"By not adhering to the rules for selling raw drinking milk, they are putting consumer health at risk.
"There have been multiple instances in the past of people getting sick after drinking raw milk from some of these suppliers. We can't let this continue."
Raw unpasteurised milk was a risky product because it hadn't been heat treated (pasteurised) to remove illness causing bacteria including E. Coli, listeria and campylobacter, she said.
"These types of bacteria most commonly cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting, but occasionally some have been linked with more serious complications that include miscarriage, paralysis, meningitis and serious kidney problems in children.
"Raw milk may also be a source of tuberculosis.
"We support consumer choice. We're not saying people can't drink raw unpasteurised milk.
"What we are saying is that when people do choose to drink raw unpasteurised milk, they're able to make that choice with a degree of confidence that the milk they're consuming is produced within the regulatory framework."
Consumers of raw milk should purchase from MPI registered suppliers who were audited regularly, Sandos said.
"We make no apologies for holding to account, people who are breaching the regulations. The rules exist for a reason – to protect human health."