About raw milk products

A little boy the same age as our own Alex is dead after drinking raw milk sold as “bath milk”. I’ve reposted this piece about raw milk as some background. Please, don’t mess with raw milk. Do what we do on our dairy farm and make sure you only drink pasteurised milk. UPDATE: Actually, the best place to read about the Mountain View Organic bath milk tragedy is at Dr David Tribe’s blog: http://gmopundit.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/an-avoidable-child-death-from.html

UPDATE 28 June 2016: The latest findings presented to the coroner are at http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/raw-milk-probable-cause-of-victorian-threeyearolds-death-coroner-hears/news-story/96f70efbd39ae0d43a0a47e96cc5996d

 

The Milk Maid Marian

Farmstead cheese

Did you know there is such a thing as “Real Milk Activism”? These activists believe the only real milk is unpasteurised milk.

Currently, it is illegal in Australia to sell unpasteurised “raw” milk but Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is conducting a review that could (although it is unlikely, I suspect) see it hit the shelves.

Milk has caused very little illness in Australia over the past decade. According to the FSANZ paper A Risk Profile of Dairy Products in Australia:

Microbiological survey data for pasteurised dairy products in Australia show a very low incidence of hazards of public health significance in these products. Overseas data demonstrates that pathogens are frequently isolated from raw milk and raw milk products. Pathogens were detected in raw milk in 85% of 126 surveys identified in the literature.

In surveys of raw milk cheese pathogens were rarely detected. Pathogens are found infrequently…

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “About raw milk products

  1. Tony Gardner

    My mind wanders back 4000 years when the dietary laws that govern Jews and Muslims were being developed in the cradle of modern western civilisation. Realistic fear of pig hygiene and tranferable human disease led to the banning of that product. More interestingly, the decree that animals eaten must have cloven hooves and chew their cud, (I believe) smacks of ensuring a population only ate what was controlled by the wealthy food manufacturers of the time. This is still what drives our culture today. I am not on the raw milk bandwagon, however clearly Germany and France amongst others have this issue under control, do not ban and in fact have legislated some products must be raw. Pigs can also be eaten safely.

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  2. One seriously pissed off blogger...

    http://www.theland.com.au/news/agriculture/general/news/toddler-dies-after-drinking-bath-milk/2719446.aspx

    In a “milk-like” container? In a fridge with edible products? Looks like drinkable milk? Bath in it kids but don’t drink it, I will come back later and check on you I need to do some social media stuff.

    The suppliers of raw milk should be charged with manslaughter and denied to ever have a duty of care of farming animals again.

    “Oh dear, that’s terrible…I am shocked by the whole thing” or “oh I suppose they should change the container…” are pathetic and naïve too say the least. There is no excuse for consciously putting a child’s life at risk, or someone with an immunodeficiency or the elderly for that matter.

    Where do these type of people (I use this term very loosely) get off. The law needs to be changed quickly and anyone flaunting it be pursued by the justice system with full vigour and haste and when caught feel the full force of the law. Oh and probably have to turn up daily to the grave of those that have graves as a consequence of their or their alternative-lifestyler peers who produce and sell “raw milk”.

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  3. kayepea

    Sorry to sound like I’m siding with the good Tony here Marian and like him I am not necessarily on the raw milk bandwagon. I am however in favour of free choice where it is safe to have that. As you must realise, and since I have found out in the short time I ‘ve been in this area, many/some? of the local dairy farmers drink their ‘own-produced’ milk raw. It’s only when we hear of the (very?) isolated cases where something goes horribly wrong that people get up in arms and want to ban the thing in question. Raw milk in this case. Surely we should have the choice but with some controls on the cleanliness of animals, humans and machinery within that process?

    I’d be interested to hear your response – as you know, I know very little about the dairy industry!! 🙂

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    • Hi Kaye,

      Yes, the likelihood that people will get sick from raw milk is small but the consequences can be terrible.

      As farmers, we do our best to produce milk that is safe to drink straight from the cow. But, and it’s a big but, all the goodness in milk also makes it the perfect culture medium.

      Even the smallest amount of contamination can lead to serious consequences. And our cows are not test tubes: they are real creatures that live in paddocks and get dirty!

      The bottom line is that this toddler didn’t have to die. Pasteurised milk has all the goodness of raw milk and none of the risks.

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  4. Hi Kaye, I suspect that people who drink raw milk from their own cows rarely get sick from it because they are living with all the cow associated bacteria already and are somewhat “resistant” to them. If you live in an ultra clean city house you will not have the immunity to the bacteria.
    Most farmers also drink it within a day or so of milking and only keep a small supply as there will always be more after the next milking. Farm kids arent completely immune to gastro though…

    The biggest issue with drinking “bath milk” is that there is no requirement to keep it cold in transit or observe any special hygiene & testing measures that raw milk producers in other countries must follow.

    There are also plenty of dairy farmers (like Marian) who dont consume raw milk but have great dairy hygiene practices. I work in the industry and have many times been offerred black tea as the carton ran out!

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  5. kayepea

    Thanks Julie for the extra information, makes me understand more – as does Marian’s answer. But Marian, we’re not blaming farmers….people need to stand up and accept responsibility for their own actions. If they want to drink raw milk (for the taste – and it does taste better ‘different’ if you ask me) then they should ensure it is fresh and maybe boil it before use. Whatever it takes, but be careful in your choices.
    I agree no child should die, but despite our very best intentions and care, die they will….from a myriad of causes because we just cannot oversee every action of every child.

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