Co-op fined $2500

MALENY’S Maple Street Co-op will be hard-hit financially after it was fined $2500 in court this week.

The co-op was found guilty of misleading and deceiving the public through its sale of Cleopatra’s Bath Milk, which is a raw milk product labelled as a cosmetic.

The sale of unpasteurised milk is prohibited under Queensland’s Food Production Safety Act 2000.

The co-op had stocked the raw milk that is produced by Trevor Mahaffey at his dairy farm near Gympie, but it has since been removed from sale.

After a complaint from a resident in February last year, a plain-clothes Queensland Health officer purchased a 2 litre bottle of Cleopatra’s Bath Milk.

While it could not be proven the sales assistant had promoted the raw milk for consumption, the prosecution focused on the fact the unpasteurised milk had been displayed in the same refrigerator as organic, pasteurised, milk.

The prosecution also argued price listings indicated it was no different to its counterparts, which were able to be legally sold for human consumption.

Caloundra magistrate Graeme Hillan ruled the juxtaposition was enough to determine the average person could be misled or deceived.

He ordered the co-op to pay $2500 plus court costs of $71.70 within four months.

Co-op general manager Karen Syrmis said she was happy with the ruling as the penalty could have been tens of thousands of dollars.

“It is a relief after the two-year process,” she said.

“It will hit the co-op very hard as we are a community operation.”

Sunshine Coast Public Health environmental health director Noel Cowell said it was disappointing the court had overlooked the public health aspect.

“We have conducted investigations into this product and it has been found to contain bacteria which are harmful,” he said.

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