Victoria legislates against raw milk following death of child

The Victorian government last week introduced laws to prevent the consumption of unpasteurised milk, following the recent death of a child who drank the product.

The ABC reports that unpasteurised ‘raw’ milk, which is sold as a cosmetic product but is often also drunk, can now only be sold in the state if it contains a gag-inducing ingredient that makes it undrinkable.

Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Jane Garrett said that the government acted quickly following the death of a three-year-old child from Mornington Peninsula late last year.

The child in question consumed Mountain View Organic Bath Milk, while another four children aged one to four, from Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs and the Mornington Peninsula became seriously ill after drinking other brands of unpasteurised milk.

"We did need to act quickly because clearly, undrinkable milk was being sold in containers the same as drinkable milk, and clearly people have been drinking it," Garrett said.

"All of the advice says it is a dangerous activity and it is (already) unlawful to sell raw milk for consumption in Victoria."

According to the Daily Telegraph, NSW is likely to follow the lead of Victoria and legislate against the product.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said there needs to be national action to prevent the sale of raw milk in a form that can be consumed by humans.

Pasteurisation involves the heating of milk for a short period of time in order to destroy any disease-causing bacteria which may be present.

“There is no doubt raw milk is dangerous, even with the best hygiene pathogenic bacteria can find its way from cows into the milk and that is why we pasteurise, it’s just irresponsible to sell raw milk and pretend it’s safe, it is not,” Microbiologist Professor Michael Eyles, chair of the Food Safety Information Council, told the Daily Telegraph.

 Image: Cannings Freerange Butchers

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