In February 2017, the internet exploded with the story of an Australian woman named Cheryl, who purchased Whole Milk Cartons from a Chinese online grocery store for $3.75 a carton.
The product was a small carton of milk that was “worth $2.25” and was labeled with a warning: “If you buy this product, we don’t know what’s in it.
We can’t guarantee it’s whole milk.”
As the story gained traction, the Australian Food Safety and Standards Authority (FASSA) received reports of other consumers who had experienced similar problems with the product.
Within weeks, Cheryl’s story went viral, sparking the need for regulation of online grocery stores.
“It is the first time we have heard of any concern for health,” FASSA Commissioner Joanna Taylor told The Huffington Live.
“The product is packaged with a ‘do not ingest’ label.”
When it comes to Whole Milk cartons, the FASSAs regulations include the following warning: If you buy the product, the products packaging will tell you that it contains whole milk, but we cannot guarantee it is whole milk.
You must check that the product has a label that says it contains milk.
It is very important that you do not consume any product with this label on it.
The warning also contains a link to a list of ingredients that can make a product more toxic.
“We know that a lot of people are not aware that there are many more ingredients in these cartons than what is listed in the label,” Taylor said.
The FASsSA also has guidelines for “food-grade” and “food grade food” foods.
“Food-grade food” is defined as foods that contain at least 75% by weight of a specific food group, and that can be consumed by people with certain health conditions, such as cancer or diabetes.
“A food-grade product is one that can readily be consumed with no adverse effects on health, including but not limited to gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, or weakness,” according to the regulations.
“Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are generally considered to be food-type food, with some exceptions,” Taylor told HuffPost Live.
The agency added that its Food Labeling Guidelines for Food Products for Children and Adults state that “a food can be food if it has the characteristics of a food.”
But, the regulations are more specific about food-source warnings, including that a product must be labelled as food if “a source of a nutrient or an ingredient can be identified.”
The rules don’t require that a grocery store label be made in English.
“When you order Whole Milk, there is no guarantee that you will actually get it,” Taylor explained.
“You can’t order a cartons with the Whole Milk Label, but you can order a label which is more specific, such that you can find out what you will be buying.”
For example, the labels for Whole Milk and other cartons like it are available in Chinese.
“In China, they do not have a lot in the way of food labels.
So you can have a cartoon which says ‘Whole Milk,’ but there is nothing on it,” said Taylor.
“If we make that kind of regulation in China, that would make it much more difficult for people to order Whole milk cartoffs online.”
For now, the FDA and FAS have not made any changes to the product label guidelines.
However, the agency has begun to monitor Whole Milk’s compliance with its regulations.