Raw milk consumption has been identified as one of the factors possibly causing illness in four people in Hawke's Bay in the past year.
The statistic has been revealed as lawyers for the Ministry for Primary Industries and Hawke's Bay raw milk giant Lindsay Farm prepare to meet for the first time since it was raided.
The farm and its customers have vowed to fight MPI since it executed nationwide warrants on what it says are unregistered, and non-compliant suppliers nationwide a fortnight ago.
An MPI spokeswoman said Lindsay Farm had made no attempt to register since its visit and investigations into the farm are ongoing.
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A petition started on Thursday urging MPI to allow people to drink Lindsay Farm's raw milk had already received more than 2500 signatures as at Monday afternoon.
In MPI's corner, however, is the Hawke's Bay District Health Board.
In the past year doctors in Hawke's Bay received four notifications of illness where one of the risk factors, among others (such as food contamination, untreated private drinking-water supplies or contact with farm animals) was consumption of raw milk, a HBDHB spokeswoman said.
There is nothing to suggest that Lindsay Farm milk is the milk that was consumed in any of the cases.
"The DHB supports the Ministry for Primary Industries NZ Food Safety Standards and its advice to consumers to learn how to best manage health risks associated with the product to reduce the risk of getting sick," the spokeswoman said.
Lindsay Farm declined to comment for this story, but said it would release a statement in the coming days.
MPI's manager of food compliance, Melinda Sando, said the purpose of the co-ordinated site visits was to gather evidence of offending and to allow further investigation of non-compliant sales.
"We believe that the suppliers 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."
Despite the warnings, a "Save our Raw milk farms" petition on change.org has garnered nearly 2500 signatures in three days.
The petition stated the current regulations surrounding supply and production of raw milk were "impractical and unrealistic and unaffordable for our milk farmers".
"This milk is from our Aotearoa backyard and not some foreign land.
"Our local farmers need our support and encouragement, we need to see their sacrifices, their passion and love for the cattle and implement practical and realistic rules. We need to be in their shoes. There is lots of hard work that goes on.
"We urge the government to form a reasonable framework and system that supports and helps milk farmers and defends the rights of raw milk consumers.
"Consumers should be able to make an informed choice. That way we are being fair with what we do."