According to a coroner in Victoria, Australia, a three-year-old’s death from organ failure was most likely due to his parents allowing him to consume raw, unpasteurized “bath milk.”
The Guardian reports that the boy was placed on a “gluten-free and organic diet” in the summer of 2014 under the advice of a naturopathic doctor.
The boy’s parents regularly consumed “Mountain View Organic Bath Milk,” which is distinctly labeled “not for human consumption.” As the coroner discovered, the parents sometimes added a small amount to the boy’s drinks.
Health officials warn that unpasteurized milk contains pathogens such as campylobacter, cryptosporidium, shiga toxin-producing E coli and listeria.
From The Guardian:
According to [the coroner’s] findings, four other children had been identified who had become seriously ill after drinking Mountain View Organic Bath Milk, and three of them had developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome, associated with a toxic strain of E coli bacteria and which can lead to kidney failure. The other developed cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic infection commonly associated with gastroenteritis.
The boy’s parents took him to the hospital after he began vomiting and having diarrhea, where he was diagnosed with viral gastroenteritis. After his condition worsened on October 2, he was taken back and was sent back home “for monitoring” and returned again two days later when blood began to show in his stool.
Over the next week and a half, despite some periods of weight gain, the boy’s condition gradually worsened. He died of thrombatic microangiopathy, a rare but serious condition which can lead to organ failure, on 13 October, after a sudden and rapid deterioration in his condition.
According to the coroner, Audrey Jamieson, the boy’s death was “most likely linked to the consumption of [unpasteurized] milk,” adding that the manufacturer of the bath milk product was not responsible for the boy’s death.
She added that it was a consumer’s choice to ignore regulations and drink [unpasteurized] milk, and noted that raw milk was a well-documented risk factor for gastrointestinal diseases and that the milk had been labelled as not for human consumption.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), out of 239 cases of illness caused by tainted dairy products from 1993 through 2006, 202 involved raw milk or raw-milk cheese, with nearly two-thirds of the patients being younger than 20.
“Parents go to raw milk because they hear it’s good for kids’ allergies,” says veterinarian and food safety specialist Michele Jay-Russell according to Mother Jones. But since children’s immune systems are not as strong as adults, the results could be tragic.
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