Government of South Australia, Department of Health
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28 May 2018

Department of Health
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SA Health renews raw milk warning - Departmental - 19 October 2009

SA Health has renewed warnings about the serious health risks associated
with using or consuming raw or unpasteurised milk products.

Director of Food Policy and Programs, Dr Fay Jenkins, said that unpasteurised
milk products are not treated for human consumption and can contain harmful
bacteria such as e.coli, salmonella, campylobacter and listeria.

“Unpasteurised products can cause serious or even life-threatening illness,
particularly in pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with
weakened immune systems.”

“Pasteurisation is crucial because it kills or neutralises dangerous pathogens
without altering the flavour of milk or adversely affecting its nutritional value,”
Dr Jenkins said.

Under Australian food laws it is illegal to sell unpasteurised milk products for
human consumption.

But SA Health has been made aware that raw milk is available in
South Australia through ‘cow sharing’ schemes, and that unpasteurised milk
products are being sold for cosmetic use.

“It is vital that people getting raw milk through these schemes or drinking
unpasteurised products labelled as beauty treatments understand the risks
they are subjecting themselves and their loved ones to,” Dr Jenkins said.

“There are multiple points in the milking process at which harmful bacteria can
contaminate unpasteurised milk.”

“Milk can be contaminated in the udder through mastitis, in the dairy farm
environment and once collected, if stored improperly.”

“Some bacteria, such as listeria monocytogenes, can grow in unpasteurised
milk products even when refrigerated and have the potential to make anyone
consuming it very sick indeed.”

For more information about food safety, visit

For more information call the SA Health Media Line Telephone: 08 8226 6488


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