THE proprietor of a Timboon organic dairy says customer reaction will determine whether it continues supplying raw milk under new government regulations.
Simon Schulz, of the Schulz Organic Dairy, said new state government legislation requiring addition of a bittering agent to unpasteurised milk could potentially affect sales of its “cosmetic milk”, which makes up a small part of the overall business.
The Andrews government plans to introduce legislation to deter people from drinking raw milk, following the death of a Mornington toddler after allegedly drinking “bath milk” from a Gippsland producer.
Labelling raw milk as not for human consumption and as “bath” or “cosmetic” milk has long provided a loophole for suppliers. What customers do with it is up to them. Some people do drink it to enjoy its untreated qualities.
Mr Schulz said while their raw milk was clearly labelled as not for human consumption, he has no way of knowing if customers choose to drink it.
He said raw milk was subject to all the same hygiene standards as human consumption milk, with the exception of pasteurisation.
“We will have to wait and see if people accept the product with something added,” Mr Schulz said. “People buy it because it is an organic product with nothing done to it.”
He said there could be a hiatus in supply between implementation of the legislation and finding a supplier of the bittering agent.
“I only found out about this legislation today. We have to consider all the options.”
Minister for Consumer Affairs Jane Garrett said despite the labelling of raw milk as not fit for human consumption, some Victorians have been put at risk from drinking it. “Raw milk has legitimate uses, but is not safe to drink,” she said. “We are going to better regulate the industry to protect consumers.”