Raw milk was the probable cause of death of a three-year-old boy in 2014, the Australian Coroner’s Court has ruled.
An inquiry by Coroner’s Solicitor Rebecca Cohen found that the previously healthy Victoria boy, began suffering from gastro symptoms on Sept. 30, 2014, and was admitted to Frankston Hospital four days later. He was transferred to Monash Medical Center on Oct. 6 with an infected large bowel. He died shortly after the transfer.
The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine autopsy found the boy was suffering from Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) at the time of his death. The rare infection is associated with E. coli bacteria, which can be found in raw milk, which is not pasteurized.
Raw milk sales for human consumption are illegal in Australia, but can be sold for other uses. The dead boy’s father admitted he’d allowed his son to occasionally drink a raw milk bathing product sold by Mountain View Organic Dairy.
When 39 bottles of unpasteurized raw milk from Mountain View was tested, E. coli was found in one sample. There were also two cases of cryptosporidium, as well as another suspect E. coli case, involving young raw milk drinkers in the same time and area.
Mountain View did not break any regulations and will not face any prosecution.
The boy’s death did bring change. Since Jan. 1, 2015, all milk sold as “bath” milk in Victoria must either be pasteurized or include a gag-inducing agent to make it taste bitter and discourage consumption.
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