Milk provides a unique source of essential nutrients that provide a wide range of benefits. For all age groups, milk has an important role to play in the community's diet. Milk has become a safe reliable food source that can be widely distributed throughout the community thanks to food safety controls achieved by pasteurisation.
Pasteurised milk and raw milk
Pasteurised milk is milk that has gone through a process called pasteurisation. This process usually involves heating milk to a specific temperature for a certain period of time to kill any harmful organisms that can be present in milk.
Raw milk, also known as unpasteurised milk, is milk that has not been pasteurised to kill harmful bacteria.
Listeria infection is particularly serious in pregnant women and can result in miscarriage or stillbirth of babies.
Due to its inherent risks, raw cow's milk is not permitted for sale under the Food Act 2001.
Who is at risk?
Everyone is vulnerable to illness caused by the harmful organisms that may be in raw milk. However, the risks are even greater for young children, the elderly, pregnant women, people with underlying health problems and those who are immunosuppressed.
This is because:
immune systems are weaker
the stomach may have less acid to protect against bacteria
the impact of symptoms can be more severe
recovery takes longer.
How raw milk becomes contaminated
Raw milk becomes contaminated either directly, from infection of the udder, or indirectly, from contact with cow faeces or other contaminants introduced during milking.
No matter how good milking hygiene practices are, it is impossible to ensure that raw milk is free from harmful bacteria.
Have people fallen ill from raw milk?
Yes, food poisoning outbreaks linked to the consumption of raw milk commonly occur around the world. In North America, between 2000 and 2012, there have been 50 outbreaks linked to raw milk or milk products. These outbreaks resulted in 826 illnesses (including four infected newborns) which lead to 48 hospitalisations and seven deaths (miscarriages/stillbirths). Of those 826 illnesses, 19 people developed HUS1
Use of the information and data contained within this site or these pages is at your sole risk.
If you rely on the information on this site you are responsible for ensuring by independent verification its accuracy, currency or completeness.
This site includes links to other websites operated by community, business and government.
These linked websites will have their own terms and conditions of use and you should familiarise yourself with these.
All linked websites are linked 'as is' and the Government of South Australia:
does not sponsor, endorse or necessarily approve of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations regarding the quality, accuracy, merchantability or fitness for purpose of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations that material on other websites to which this site is linked does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any person anywhere in the world; and
does not authorise the infringement of any intellectual property rights contained in material in other websites by linking this site to those other websites.
If you use automatic language translation services in connection with this site you do so at your own risk.
The information and data on this site is subject to change without notice. The Government of South Australia may revise this disclaimer at any time by updating this posting.
The Government of South Australia, its agents, instrumentalities, officers and employees:
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information and data contained on this site
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy or usefulness of any translation of the information on this site or any linked website into another language
make no representations as to the availability of the site and the availability of websites linked from or to the site
accept no liability however arising for any loss resulting from the use of the site and any information and data or reliance placed on it (including translated information and data)
make no representations, either expressed or implied, as to the suitability of the said information and data for any particular purpose
accepts no liability for any interference with or damage to a user's computer, software or data occurring in connection with or relating to this Site or its use or any website linked to this site
do not represent or warrant that applications or payments initiated through this site will in fact be received or made to the intended recipient. Users are advised to confirm the application or payment by other means.