Raw milk producers will be subject to tough new restrictions, making it harder to sell the product for human consumption, the Victorian Government has said.
Under the new regulations, dairy farmers producing milk must either make it safe for human consumption or make it unpalatable by adding a bittering agent.
“Raw milk producers will have to either treat the milk with a pasteurisation process to make sure that any harmful bacteria are killed before there is a risk that consumers will drink it,” Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs Jane Garrett said.
“If they don’t wish to go through this pasteurisation process, they will be required to add a very small drop of an agent that makes the milk entirely unpalatable.
“This means that the smallest amount will make the individual recoil in horror, which will prevent absolutely the deliberate or accidental consumption.”
Earlier this month a three-year old boy died after drinking Mountain View Farm unpasteurised milk on the Mornington Peninsula, in Melbourne’s south.
The Victorian Health Department said four other children also became ill after drinking the product.
The new rules allow manufacturers and farmers to turn raw milk into non-edible products, Ms Garrett said.
“It is used often in making soap for example, or making stock feed and that can be done without it ever gracing the shelves,” she said.
She said farmers who breached the new rules would face a fine and could have their licences cancelled.
“These new conditions will help protect Victorians from the serious risks of drinking raw unpasteurised milk,” Ms Garrett said.
“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.”
This story originally appeared on the ABC, and has been republished here with full permission.