SYDNEY families are ignoring health authorities by buying and drinking raw cow’s milk, which is available at health-food stores as a “beauty” product.
A Bondi Junction organics shop last month lost an appeal against an Industrial Court fine and court costs totalling $183,000 for selling Cleopatra’s Bath Milk, an unpasteurised cow’s milk that is marketed as a beauty bath.
But the owner of the Suveran store said the fine had not stopped high consumer interest in the milk, which people now sourced from other stores.
The Sunday Telegraph has seen the milk in dozens of health and organics shops around Sydney marketed as “cosmetic milk” but advocates of the unpasteurised milk say it should be legalised for consumers to drink.
Naturopaths say the milk has helpful benefits in reducing eczema, stomach irritations and infections in children because it contains live enzymes that are destroyed during the pasteurisation process.
Paddington mother Rebecca Fox said she and her children had been drinking the milk since her daughter Ornella, now six, was a year old.
“I started giving it to her, and within two weeks her eczema had cleared up,” Ms Fox said.
“There’s a whole range of people out there drinking raw milk but it’s pretty underground.”
Suveran owner Pete Melov said interest in the product was growing.
“I don’t even drink milk, but a lot of people want to get raw milk,” Mr Melov said.
“The authorities seem to think it’s extremely dangerous and that people who drink it are going to die, but everybody is drinking raw milk and nobody is getting sick.”
One naturopath who spoke to The Sunday Telegraph on condition of anonymity said the belief that milk needed to be pasteurised was a by-product of the mass production of milk, which left commercial milk vulnerable to bugs.
But she said farm-fresh organic milk did not need to be heated because it contained no pests.
“It’s strange, because raw goat’s milk is legal but raw cow’s milk is not, so a lot of people feed their children raw goat’s milk instead.”
Under NSW law, the product is allowed to be sold as long as it is clearly labelled for “cosmetic purposes only”.
The NSW Food Authority said consuming unpasteurised milk was a health risk and could lead to the transmission of E. coli and salmonella.