New Controls on Raw Milk Will Protect Consumers

The Andrews Labor Government has moved to protect Victorians from the risks of unpasteurised “raw” milk.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Jane Garrett, has announced the Andrews Labor Government will introduce tougher conditions on the licences of all dairy farmers and manufacturers to help protect consumers.

These conditions will ensure that any products sold as “bath” or “cosmetic” milk must be made safer. Producers must either treat the product to reduce pathogens or make the milk unpalatable through, for example, a bittering agent.

Four agencies are working together to stop the risk to public health: Consumer Affairs Victoria, the Department of Health, Dairy Food Safety Victoria and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

Dairy producers who breach the new licence conditions face a fine of 120 penalty points and could have their licence to produce dairy products cancelled.

The Andrews Labor Government will continue to work with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and other State Governments to address this issue nationally.

Quotes attributable to Minister Garrett:

“Despite the labelling of raw milk as not fit for human consumption, some Victorians have been put at risk from drinking it.”

“Raw milk has legitimate uses, but is not safe to drink. We are going to better regulate the industry to protect consumers.”

“These new conditions will help protect Victorians from the serious risks of drinking raw unpasteurised milk.’’

Key Facts

The new conditions will ensure that any products sold as “bath’’ or “cosmetic’’ milk must be made safer. There are two ways dairy farmers can do this. First, they can make the milk safe for human consumption should it be accidentally ingested (using pasteurisation or some other mechanism to reduce pathogens). Second, if producers want to keep cosmetic milk raw, it must be made unpalatable. One way to do this would be to introduce a bittering agent.

• Dairy farmers and dairy food processors are licensed under the Dairy Act 2000, which is administered by Dairy Food Safety Victoria. Unpasteurised (“raw”) milk is not permitted to be sold in Victoria for human consumption.

• The Chief Health Officer has issued a public warning on the dangers of drinking unpasteurised milk sold as “bath milk’’ or “cosmetic milk’’ and labelled not for human consumption.

• The State Coroner is currently investigating the death of a toddler from drinking raw unpasteurised milk.

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