How we make your milk and dairy products safe

Dairysafe ensures that your milk and other dairy products are safe by working with farmers and processors to ensure that they all comply with the Australian food safety standards. We also work with industry partners in the event of a problem to ensure that dairy products that are not fit for human consumption, such as having a bacteria that might make you sick, does not make it to the shops or is recalled from the shops as quickly as possible. We also require milk to be tested for antibiotic contamination. This is done to try to reduce consumer exposure to unintended antibiotics, thereby extending the usefulness of these very important health enabling products.

The standards that we enforce here in South Australia are national standards. Similar bodies in other states do similar work, so you can be confident that dairy products from other producers in Australia are also safe for you to eat or drink.

Information about raw milk

Recently there has been a lot of concern and media coverage about raw milk products. Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurised. It is currently illegal to sell or buy raw milk for human consumption anywhere in Australia. This position follows two extensive studies by FSANZ where the conclusion was that raw milk is an unsafe product and therefore should not be authorised for sale in Australia. the only raw milk products which are allowed in Australia are some hard cheeses where the process of making the cheese delivers a similar result as would happen if the milk had been pasteurised.

There are many examples of people becoming seriously ill from the consumption of raw milk.  Sadly a child died in December 2014 in Victoria after drinking raw milk sold as ‘bath milk’.

We pasteurise milk to make it safe for people to drink. This process involves heating milk to a hot enough temperature for a long enough time to kill any harmful bacteria that can be present in milk. No matter how good milking hygiene practices are, it is impossible to ensure that raw milk is free from harmful bacteria.

All producers accredited by Dairysafe pasteurise their milk. There is an exemption for raw goat’s milk in SA. This exemption requires very specific testing and hygiene practices.

If you have your own cow and want to drink milk from it you are free to do so but are urged to ensure the teats and all your utensils are very clean when milking, and refrigerate the milk quickly after milking or consider pasteurising yourself.

If you have any questions about raw milk please feel free to call us.

Read more:

SA Health’s Pasteurised v’s Raw Milk Sheet

Risk of Drinking Raw Milk Fact Sheet – Dairy Food Safety Victoria (PDF)

FSANZ information page with link to risk assessment