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Public health warning: consumption of raw milk

29 Oct 2014

The NSW Food Authority warns consumers not to drink raw or unpasteurised milk marketed as pet food or for cosmetic use as it is a potential health hazard.

Consumers are urged not to buy milk or milk products for human consumption from shops, farm stands or farmers' markets unless they can confirm that it has been pasteurised. The consumption of unpasteurised dairy products could cause severe illness particularly in pregnant women, young children, and the elderly and infirm people.

Nationally and internationally raw milk products account for a small proportion of sales but a very large proportion of outbreaks. Pasteurisation is important as it involves heating the milk to kill dangerous pathogens but has minimal effect on its nutritional value or flavour.

The sale of raw dairy products for human consumption is illegal in Australia as they could contain harmful bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria. The NSW Food Authority investigates any reports of retailers illegally selling raw milk for human consumption. The Food Act provides penalties of up to $275,000 for the sale of unpasteurised milk.

See further information – Raw milk : advice for consumers