I am distressed about the reports of children falling ill after drinking unpasteurised or raw milk. One tragic case led to a child’s death. This dangerous product is unfit for human consumption and is labelled as such. It should not be fed to children.
I have urgently raised this issue with the Commonwealth Minister, the Hon Bruce Billson, and asked for an investigation into the labelling of raw milk and the recall and possible banning of this product. The national regulators from around Australia are currently meeting to consider these actions.
I have asked Consumer Affairs Victoria to begin a state wide education campaign, alerting consumers and parents to the dangers of unpasteurised milk. This information will be distributed through maternal and health care centres, hospitals, day care centres and all other health outlets.
Make no mistake, unpasteurised milk can kill, no matter how carefully it has been produced. In Australia, the sale of unpasteurised cow’s milk for human consumption is illegal. In Victoria, it is also illegal to package, deliver or provide raw milk for human consumption.
Raw milk may sold for cosmetic use – for example, as ‘bath’ milk – and can appear similar to other milk products, but it must carry warning labels. Anyone can fall ill after consuming raw milk but children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are at high risk. Symptoms can range from mild vomiting and diarrhoea, to life-threatening illness.
For more information about the risks of consuming unpasteurised milk products, please read the Chief Health Officer’s warning on the Department of Health’s website.
Reviewed 19 August 2020