Jim Mulhern, Chief Operating Officer of the National Milk Producers Federation, released the following statement in response to a proposed Wisconsin legislation legalizing raw milk sales:

“It is disheartening that lawmakers in America’s Dairyland are even considering legislation that would damage public health by liberalizing the sale of raw milk to consumers.

“There is no evidence that raw milk provides any health benefits different from the numerous nutritional benefits of pasteurized milk. However, there is extensive evidence that raw milk can contain deadly pathogens that otherwise would be destroyed by pasteurization. Seldom has the science behind public health policy been so clearly one-sided. It is simply irresponsible to confuse wishful thinking and the placebo effect, with clear clinical research demonstrating that illness-causing bacteria can be, and are being found in raw farm milk. And these pathogenic bacteria can be found on any dairy farm, regardless of its cleanliness or the good intentions of its owner.

“We are reiterating our concerns to lawmakers at today’s hearing in La Crosse because Wisconsin must remain a leader in providing high quality, safe dairy products for consumers. Deregulation of raw milk in Wisconsin would be bad for the nation’s dairy industry and, far worse, it would be tragic for public health.

“State legislators, and Governor Walker, need to keep in mind that if this measure passes, those most vulnerable to dangerous pathogens – children – are the ones who will suffer the most. The benefits of consuming raw milk are illusory, but the painful costs of illness and death are very real.”