The recent death of a toddler and illness of several other children who had consumed “bath milk” highlights huge confusion and misinformation re “organic” products.
Many organic dairy producers are perfectly happy to have their milk processed – at least pasteurised and some homogenised – in a small co-operative such as the one in Camperdown.
This milk is usually delivered to the door just as it used to be in days gone by. It is not hugely more expensive than milk from a supermarket.
Other producers and promoters however proclaim that “truly” organic milk cannot be either pasteurised or homogenised.
Some naturopaths make the questionable claim that the processing itself has been proven to cause obesity, clogged arteries etc.
Some people believe that homogenisation involves big doses of UV light – where did that bit of folk-lore came from?
Some advocates fervently argue they have every right to be supplied with raw milk to drink through ordinary retail outlets despite the present laws against this.
In the case of the “bath milk” with the lethal e-coli, it was being retailed through several suburban “health food” shops despite the farmer’s claim that the milk was personally delivered to a retail outlet nearby.
Though it was labelled “cosmetic – not for human consumption”, it was very well known that people were buying it to drink and put on their muesli. Facebook pages etc made that clear.
So the advocates of raw milk seemed quite happy to encourage and promote a dodgy legal situation to young dairy farmers who believe they don’t get a fair price and to people who believe anything “natural” cannot be harmful.
This can be extremely risky, as recent events have shown.
There may well be a case for a properly regulated and safe method of marketing raw milk at the price the producers desire.
It needs to be based on science and practicality. New legislation would be needed.
This would cost money and time, but is surely preferable to the recent situation.
Wilma Western, Leongatha.
Raw milk myths