Wednesday 16 September 2015 6.30—8.00PM

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Law School Foyer Level 2, Sydney Law School University of Sydney



Sydney Ideas

Uncovering the good and bad of raw milk & cheese

In association with Sydney Ideas that share the latest research on how our modern lifestyles are affecting the environment around us, and the small changes we can all make.

Hosted by Dr Frances Flanagan, research affiliate with the Sydney Environment Institute.

Raw milk was blamed for the death of a Melbourne toddler last year. It stirred a major debate about the dangers of drinking non-pasteurised milk, labelling around raw milk and the need for tougher regulations. On the flip side, those pro raw-milk and raw-cheese claimed the issue had been sensationalised.

Milk is an important food for many people, providing the calcium needed for our bones and various other nutrients. But why shouldn’t we drink raw milk? Current laws in Australia only allow the sale of it for cosmetic use yet supporters argue it’s completely safe for human consumption and is full of health benefits.

This conversation event looks at what are the actual risks of raw milk/cheese, the associated social and ethical effects on public health, the regulatory changes needed and how Australia compares to the rest of the world. Join the Dr Christopher Degeling of the University of Sydney, Alanna Linn, a postgrad student at Monash University Faculty of Law exploring the contested regulatory landscape for raw milk in Australia and cheese expert Claudia Bowman of McIntosh & Bowman, for an insightful debate on the issue.


Frances Flanagan, research affiliate with the Sydney Environment Institute is the author of Remembering the Revolution: dissent, culture and nationalism in the Irish Free State (Oxford University Press, 2015). She holds a DPhil and MSt in historical research from the University of Oxford, and bachelors degrees in arts and law from the University of Western Australia. She has been a senior scholar at Hertford College Oxford, a Royal Historical Society Marshall Fellow at the London Institute of Historical Research, and a postdoctoral researcher at Birkbeck, University of London. She is currently working on a project concerning the commemoration of ecological loss.

Alanna Linn is a postgraduate student at the Monash University Faculty of Law and her thesis is exploring the contested regulatory landscape for raw milk in Australia. Alanna also has over 10 years experience in public policy in Australia and the United Kingdom. Her key areas of expertise and experience include regulatory reform in the energy, water and legal services markets, consumer policy and environmental resource management policy. Alanna’s current areas of research interest include food and consumption politics, food safety regulation, and the multiplicity of risk perceptions and realities. Alanna is the Chair of the NSW Cancer Council Ethics Committee and is also an amateur cheesemaker.

Claudia Bowman, McIntosh & Bowman, 12 years in, Claudia’s cheese expertise is internationally recognized and lands her prominent and enviable positions on judging panels at cheese award shows around the globe.

Co-creator of the award winning iPhone and Android app ‘Ask The Cheesemonger’ Claudia has recently been inducted into the most prestigious French cheese association ‘Guilde Internationale des Fromages

Claudia is the founder and presenter of Australia’s premier Artisan Cheese Experience company offering masterclasses and workshops in cheesemaking, single malt & cheese matching, boutique beer and cheese tastings, wine & cheese & The award winning ‘Australian Artisan cheese showcase on Fort Denison Sydney Harbour’.

Christopher Degeling is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine. He returned to Australia after completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Population Health Intervention Research Centre at the University of Calgary, having previously been in veterinary practice in Australia and the UK. His research and teaching interests revolve around the ethics and politics of human interactions with nonhuman animals, and the social and cultural dimensions of public health. His research is inter-disciplinary, and draws together insights from Science and Technology Studies (STS) and and social and normative theories. He is the author of numerous articles on issues ranging from animal experimentation, to diagnostic innovation and biosecurity. Current projects include studies of social justice and pet ownership, the politics of One Health, and the ethics of cancer screening.