Many of you have heard that the Coroner has released findings in relation to the child that passed away in 2014 due to the alleged consumption of raw milk.
The Coroner found on the balance of probabilities that the death was most likely linked to the consumption of raw milk. The full report is available here:
The Coroner’s findings are disappointing for a number of reasons. As set out in the report, the evidence given to the Coroner by the child’s father cast some doubt over whether the child had even consumed raw milk. The child’s father “stated that he could not remember if his son had drunk any of the milk in the bottle they currently had in the fridge at their home. There was a possibility that he had, but there was also a possibility that he had not because he so rarely drank milk”.
Importantly, the Coroner decided to attribute more weight to other evidence, including a DHHS report, than to the expert report prepared by Dr Ron Hull, a globally-recognized dairy microbiologist. Dr Hull’s expert opinion was that there were other more likely sources of infection than the milk.
An inquest would have provided more forensic and scientific certainty about the cause of the death, but an inquest understandably did not proceed due to the impact it would likely have on the family.
In the 10 years bath milk was sold in Australia there were no reported deaths and no clusters of illness. Globally there are no reported deaths attributable to raw milk.
No food is 100% safe. People die from consuming pasteurised dairy foods and other foods which are regulated by health authorities.
Investigations follow Jindi cheese listeria fatalities (the death of two adults and a child linked to pasteurised cheese)
Outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes Infections Associated With Pasteurized Milk From a Local Dairy—Massachusetts, 2007 (death of three people linked to pasteurised milk)
Salmonella in your salad: the cost of convenience? (death of three linked to pre-packaged spinach)
The Lettuce Was Framed: A Salmonella (And Other Meat Byproducts) Explainer (some 70+ deaths annually in Australia linked to animal industry waste and contamination)
It is impossible to legislate to guarantee safety, all of the time. We can, however, work toward putting the appropriate regulation in place, like in California, so we can all have access to safe raw milk. Almost every country around the world is regulating raw milk, while Australia is moving in the wrong direction.