Concern over confusion between "bath milk" and drinking milk

Concern over confusion between "bath milk" and drinking milk

Australia's consumer watchdog has launched an investigation into the sale of unpasteurised milk in the country after consumption of raw milk was linked to a number of illnesses and, potentially, one fatality.

According to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard, four children under the age of five have been taken sick after drinking contaminated raw milk sold under the Mountain View Organic Farm Bath Milk brand in recent weeks. The death of a three-year-old has been referred to the coroner, Rickard added.

Under Australian law, it is illegal to sell unpasteurised cows milk for human consumption. However, the sale of unpasteurised milk for cosmetic purposes - so-called "bath milk" - is permitted.

A full product recall by Mountain View Organic Dairy of its bath milk product has been launched.

"We have chosen to voluntarily recall our Mountain View Bath Milk. This is to give us time to discuss with the Heath Department in regards to reviewing the labelling. We are happy to review the labels together with the Health Department," the company said in a statement. 

Rickard conceded the product did carry warnings that it was unsuitable for human consumption but stressed the packaging was similar to regular milk cartons. She said: "The recalled product is called Organic Bath Milk and labelling indicates that it is a cosmetic product. It also carries a warning that the product is not suitable for human consumption. Nevertheless, this product is sold in containers that resemble commonly used milk containers."

The ACCC said it will lead an investigation into whether the sale of raw milk for cosmetic purposes breaches the country's consumer regulations.

"The ACCC is leading a national investigation of consumer law regulators into possible breaches of the Australian Consumer Law by sellers of raw milk when sold as a cosmetic product," the Commission said. "Regulators will consider issues including whether product labels mislead consumers; whether the sellers' obligation to provide safe goods has been met and whether voluntary or mandatory changes will address health concerns."