Wisconsin takes on raw milk again

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On the heels of the partial acquittal of a Wisconsin raw milk producer, one of the state’s senators is making another attempt to legalize sales of raw milk and raw milk products.

According to Food Safety News, the bill from Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman would allow on-the-farm sales directly to consumers. The bill will go to a public hearing later this year.

Grothman claims that raw milk and its products are recommended by nutritionists and chiropractors for their health benefits. He also points that under his bill, farms that register will be under the same requirements that they normally have for producing Grade A milk.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has indicated that he could sign a raw milk bill if sufficient safeguards were included. Read more here.  

Former Gov. Jim Doyle's Secretary of Agriculture, Rod Nilsestuen, appointed the Wisconsin Raw milk Policy World Group in 2010 to consider whether there are legal, regulatory means that might allow dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized fluid raw milk directly to consumers and, if so, what conditions would be necessary to protect public health.

After a year of deliberation, the 22-member panel reported that it could not endorse raw milk sales. But the group did agree that if raw milk was made legal in Wisconsin, the state would need to impose restrictive requirements that go beyond any now found in America. Click here for more.  

The Journal Times shows that many Wisconsin producers worry what it could do to their credibility, even for those who support raw milk.

“It’s a sticky issue,” farmer Brian Schaal, who milks nearly 300 cows at his Burlington, Wis., dairy said. “Personally, I don’t like the government making rules about what’s best for the public.

"But on the other hand,” Schaal continued, “what if someone buys raw milk and would get sick — who’s responsible? Is it the person or the farmer? And the whole dairy industry would get a black eye.”

See, “Farmers differ on selling raw milk.”

A similar bill gained popularity in Montana, but ultimately failed. Similar to Wisconsin, Montana’s dairy industry questioned the move to legalize raw dairy.  

“This whole raw milk thing, there is people getting sick all the time,” dairy farmer Jeff Lewis said. “There was a bunch of people that got sick in Alaska recently. The people that advocate this forget to tell people about that.”

Click here for more.



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