SA couple fined for selling raw milk

A South Australian couple have been fined more than $17,000 for selling raw milk through a scheme in which their customers bought shares in their cows.

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Mark and Helen Tyler pleaded guilty to selling milk that did not comply with national standards.

In the Christies Beach Magistrates Court on Thursday, Mark Tyler was fined $13,500 and his wife $4000.

The farmers first came before the courts in May 2015 when a magistrate ruled their scheme was illegal and convicted them for breaching two counts of the Food Act.

Prosecutors argued that the Tylers’ scheme still constituted the sale of unpasteurised milk.

They appealed against the verdict and won a retrial but pleaded guilty to the charges this week.

Sales of raw milk are illegal in Australia but various groups have tried to get around the regulations, including by labelling their milk not for human consumption.

In 2014, the death of a three-year-old Victorian boy was linked to raw milk that had been sold as bath milk.

Earlier in 2016, the Tylers continued to promote the sale of raw milk as offering dairy farmers an alternative to selling all their produce to big corporations.

Details of their shared cow program remain on the internet and involve 100 shares per cow, entitling each share owner to one per cent of the milk that cow produces.

A Facebook group, Raw Milk Adelaide, also continues to tout the health benefits of raw milk.

“We want to farm without government interference and to bring nourishment back to our communities,” the group says.

But food authorities say raw milk is more likely to contain higher levels of harmful bacteria, with South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling previously describing its consumption as very dangerous.