Raw Milk Drink-In at Jane Garrett's office
Just before new year, the Victorian government, with Consumer Affairs Minister Jane Garrett, gave directives to prevent the sale of raw milk in Victoria from 1 Jan 2015. Article here. All raw bath milk or cosmetic milk products must be either pasteurised, or have a gag-inducing agent added that makes it taste bitter, before sale.
On 31 January 2015, the newly formed Australian Raw Milk Movement held a Raw Milk Drink-in in front of Consumer Affairs Minister, Jane Garrett - Member for Brunswick's offices in Nicholson street, Brunswick East, asking the government to regulate the industry.
More than 150 protesters showed up and stated that they will continue drinking milk in its purist form.
New regulations dictate that from 1 February 2015 a bitter gagging agent be put into all raw milk intended for sale. People face a fine of up to $60 000 if they are selling or providing family members with raw milk for human consumption. Dairy farmers face loosing their dairy licence if they sold raw milk without the bittering agent. Only people who own a cow can legally drink its milk.
In this 9 news video, Rebecca Freer says "we want the government to legalise it in all its forms". Producer Reg Matthews, who is severely impacted by the decision said: "over 70% of our business will disappear as of midnight tonight".
This article quoted Rebecca Freer saying: "The government's approach so far has been a very knee-jerk reaction. I think they're in denial that there's a large subculture of raw milk drinkers, who are well-informed, educated people."
Nutritionist Arabella Forge, who spoke at the event said: "what we're really asking for is a system of regulation that supports safe, raw milk." "People should have access to this product." She also said that current food safety laws could be amended to get raw milk on store shelves without compromising food safety in this article.
Listen to interviews with Rebecca Freer, Reg Matthews and others on the Interviews Page or see the Videos page. Raw 'bath' milk had been available in Victoria for around 10 years until this new regulation was passed. Raw cow’s milk can be done well when the right set of controls are applied to a production system.