Huon Valley Caravan Park in hot water over Raw Milk

In the last few days there have been a storm of discussion about raw milk in Tasmania. This article hopes to put all the information together in order to make it easier to follow the developing story.

Huon Valley Caravan Park owner Rowen Carter have been enjoying tremendous support from the public since he posted the Facebook post below sharing his concerns after the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority visited the park.

Image: Rowen milking a Jersey cow

The Caravan Park and farmstay is only 4 years old but it is hugely popular with tourists because of the unique educational experience on offer. When you check-in to the park they like to give everyone a small sample of farm fresh produce when they have excess. This may be home-made jam, eggs from the chooks, home-made cheese, junket or fruit and vegetables from the garden. Patrons are also invited to join the many farm activities which is the popular drawcard. Rowen say that they are a self-sufficient farm that want to teach people where real food comes from. Now they have been threatened that they can lose their business over the issue. An anonymous complaint was made against the park saying they were selling raw milk. Rowen say it was explained to Don Sandman of the TDIA they they do not sell their milk, because they knew it was illegal. They simply offer a small sample of what fresh milk and cheese tastes like in its unadulterated state. No child is allowed to sample any milk or milk product without approval from their parents.

"How can a government authority make that decision for you?"

"Is it not a basic human right to be able to choose your food?"

“There have been 150,000 clicks on our Facebook page over the weekend. Most people are saying just how ridiculous the situation is.” “Tasmanians are allowed to smoke cigarettes and eat and drink junk food but not taste some milk fresh from a cow. That just doesn’t seem right.” Source.

There are over a thousand comments in support of the park's activities posted on many different Facebook Pages in the last few days. Many criticise authorities for keeping a ban on raw milk when Australia is experiencing a dairy crisis. Many say they grew up consuming the produce from the farm and don't want bureaucratic interference with their choices. Supporters also say they want their children to experience the direct relationship with the farmer, the food directly from the farm and the kind of activities on offer at the park. Many people express their concern with all the allergies and health problems city kids have who can't enjoy access to raw milk. Many find it unacceptable that a small group of bureaucrats dictate what the rest of Australia cannot eat or cannot do as part of tourism. Click on the following links if you'd like to read some of the various comments:

Huon Valley Caravan Park Facebook post  -  10 Nov 2016

ABC Landline's Facebook post

ABC Hobart's Facebook post

Tasmania Talks with Brian Carlton talked with Rowen and other in what turned out to be great interviews. Listen to the interviews below:

"An anonymous complaint has been made against the Huon Valley Caravan Park, alleging the farm-stay in the south of Tasmania has been selling raw, unpasturised milk. Rowen Carter, Operator of the Huon Valley Caravan Park speaks to Brian Carlton about the opportunities offered at the park for guests to get involved with farm activities, including drinking raw milk, squirted directly from the cow's teat.

"I can give you a cigarette or a can of coke, but I can't give you an unstamped egg or fresh milk," "We're about tourism and educating people," Mr Carter says." source


"The Tasmania Talks phone lines lit up with listeners wanting to share their experiences drinking raw milk. "Even today I remember it, it was the best experience ever," listener Pat from Ross remembers back to the 1930's, the first time she went to a farm and had warm milk squirted straight from a cow's udder into her mouth." source


"Senator Jacquie Lambie joins Brian Carlton for her regular spot, discussing the controversy around consuming raw milk and other hot topics of the day. “That’s how we used to have our milk…straight out of the cow,” Senator Lambie says." source

Rowen say he hopes to find a solution that would allow the park to continue to offer a genuine experience to visitors. He say he is meeting with the owner of the park and the TDIA to see if there is anything that the government can do to assist. He is also meeting State Labor MPs Scott Bacon (tourism spokesman) and Rebecca White (primary industries) tomorrow (source).  

The meeting with the TDIA didn't seem to go well. Feedback below:

"Rowen Carter, operator of farm-stay, the Huon Valley Caravan Park has been left feeling sour, following a meeting yesterday organised by their local MP with Mark Sayer, acting chairman of the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority. The park, located south of Hobart has been ordered to cease providing guests with the opportunity to drink raw unpasturised milk, fresh from the udder of their cow and often squirted directly into willing visitors mouths. Mr. Carter explains to Brian Carlton the outcome of the meeting, which took place after yesterday's conversation on Tasmania Talks. "It's about freedom of choice - can't you choose your food?" Mr. Carter asks." source


"If you’ve been following the debate on the safety of drinking raw milk, you would likely believe that unlike cow’s milk, goat’s milk is legally able to be consumed raw, without pasteurisation. Steve Baldock, Tasmanian President of the Dairy Goat Association sets the record straight, advising that this is not the case, and goat’s milk must be treated, under the same regulations as cow’s milk. Mr. Baldock says raw milk “can be dangerous if…produced from diseased animals,” “I drink at least a couple of litres a day…untreated, straight out of the goat, straight into the bucket, straight into the fridge,” Mr. Baldock says." source