News

12-12-2014

A Victorian Toddler dies and four others have become seriously unwell after drinking contaminated raw milk

It is illegal to provide raw milk for human consumption in Australia, but it can be used for "cosmetic purposes" and is often sold in packaging similar to drinking milk and kept in the same areas in the shops.

Raw milk is falsely advertised as being safer and healthier than pasteurized milk because it is unprocessed, with benefits such as treating asthma, fatigue, cancer, heart disease and diabetes as well as improving body-building outcomes.

Milk has been pasteurized in Australia since the 1940's. This process heats the milk for a specific time and temperature, killing microorganisms that cause human disease and those that reduce shelf-life, but does not sterilize the milk. Approximately 10-30% of the heat-sensitive vitamins such as vitamin C and thiamine are removed in the process, but milk is not a significant source of these vitamins. Harmful bacteria such as E Coli, salmonella , listeria and TB are removed. The toddler died of uraemic syndrome caused by bacteria affecting the kidneys.

Pasteurization does not cause lactose intolerance ( inability to break down milk sugar into more simple substances, causing the undigested lactose to ferment in the large intestine) nor change the type of milk proteins contained in the milk ( A1 beta casein and A2 beta casein, which have been linked to a variety of health conditions, the issues remain controversial and the subject of ongoing research). Both raw and pasteurized cows milk contain these substances.

The effects of drinking raw milk can be very severe, causing kidney failure, affect the bloodstream and cause gastrointestinal symptoms and even death as a result of these complications.

Victoria's Chief Medical Officer stated that she was concerned that the children were given the milk intentionally, despite labelling indicating that it was not for human consumption, due to the" the movement out there that think that something raw is wholesome as better for you"

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