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'Bath' milk linked to Vic toddler's death

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 Caitlin Guilfoyle

A Melbourne toddler's death is likely linked to the consumption of unpasteurised milk that was marked and sold as a cosmetic product, a coroner has found.

The three-year-old boy died in 2014 from a severe complication of E. coli infection, Victorian Coroner Audrey Jamieson found.

His family had started buying unpasteurised Mountain View Organic Dairy bath milk a couple of months prior after the child was diagnosed with an intolerance to gluten, eggs and dairy.

The toddler's father knew the milk was labelled "not to be drunk", but it looked like every other milk container and he "would be surprised if anyone used it for cosmetic purposes".

He and the boy's mother had the milk in their tea and thought it might be easier for the toddler to drink, so occasionally put a small amount in his formula.

When the boy became ill, his father said he couldn't remember if the toddler had drunk any of the milk that was in their fridge at the time because the boy rarely had dairy.

The toddler was initially taken to Frankston Hospital, before being admitted to Monash Medical Centre, where he later died.

Ms Jamieson found on the balance of probabilities the child's death was most likely linked to the consumption of the milk.

She cleared Mountain View Farm of any wrongdoing, saying the product was appropriately labelled as bath milk and not for consumption.

The toddler's medical management was reasonable and appropriate, Ms Jamieson said.

She did not make any recommendations, finding the regulation of unpasteurised milk in Victoria had been properly managed after the tragedy.

"If members of our community choose to drink farm-gate unpasteurised milk, that is their choice," the coroner said.

"However, they should do so in the knowledge that it may contain harmful bacteria."

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