Dairy farmer: Montana raw milk bill would 'undermine' industry

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A proposed bill in Montana that would bring raw milk to the state is leaving a sour taste with many dairy farmers.  

“We have a dairy industry in the state of Montana, and it’s something that we all bust our butts to make a living at,” dairy farmer Jeff Lewis told the Missoulian. “The biggest issue I see with the bill is it would completely undermine the dairy industry. It doesn’t put us on an even playing field.”

Lewis, owner of the MuJuice Dairy near Corvallis, Mont., and many others in the state’s dairy industry have voiced their opinion against the bill, HB 574. If passed, HB 574 would create a small herd exemption from current mandatory pasteurization requirements. Read the bill.

“Are these farmers who want to sell raw milk going to pay 50 bucks a month to send in a sample quarterly, and what if the sample is no good?” Lewis asked. “How are you going to enforce all these small farmers? If my inspectors are going out to inspect, and the farmer is not paying for the inspection, then I’ve really got heartburn.”

Lewis, a member of the Montana Department of Livestock board, also points to the health concerns associated with consuming raw milk and raw dairy products.

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

In the Alaska outbreak, 24 people in the Kenai Peninsula have fallen ill with campylobacter infections after drinking raw milk from a local dairy.  Two of the cases have required hospitalization. Read, “Alaska’s raw milk problems won’t go away.”  

Read more from the Missoulian here.

Others in the state echo Lewis’ concerns.

“We are concerned about the Pandora’s Box that would be opened if a consumer has a bad experience from consuming raw milk,” Mark Meyer of the Montana Milk Producers Association told the Billings (Mont.) Gazette. “It would negatively impact the milk industry as a whole here in Montana.”

According to the Billings Gazette, Christian Mackay, executive officer for the state’s Board of Livestock, is leading the opposition to the bill.

“I’m proud that Montana milk producers (currently) produce a product that’s not going to get children sick,” Mackay said. “You’re inviting problems by allowing this.”

The bill, currently in the House Agriculture Committee, still has a long way to go before it becomes a law, if it is passed. Republican Representative Lee Randall, chairman of the Committee, expects several amendments to be proposed.

See, “Hearing on unpasteurized milk draws crowd.”

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Colorado Springs  |  March, 11, 2013 at 06:22 PM

I am glad that this dairy farmer is honest. It is not about health. It never was about health. It is about trying to get rid of the competition using the force of law. If they can't compete in the marketplace, then use the government to stop the competition. Of course, this is immoral and unconstitutional, but they don't care, just as they don't care how much cruelty they inflict on their cows that are left standing in several inches of their own excrement and fed grains that they are not designed to eat. The free market is a great idea until it threatens one's own business.

Iowa  |  March, 12, 2013 at 10:50 AM

WELL SAID!!!!! Completely agree!!!

Missouri  |  March, 12, 2013 at 08:59 AM

Absolutely bachcole. It's just great that people get milk with aspartame in it through the processing channels. Free market, and direct trade is the only way to increase actual food security. It isn't about health because many more people are ill from the centralized, consolidated, controlled and processed food supply than are from raw dairy. Be smart and source cleanly and from small herds and you'll be fine.

Colorado Springs  |  March, 12, 2013 at 09:26 AM

I have a great idea. Let's outlaw aloe vera so as to protect the cosmetics industry. And we could outlaw raw peanuts in order to protect the peanut butter industry. We could outlaw sunshine so as to protect the oil and gas industry. We could outlaw home gardening so as to protect the produce industry and the marijuana industry. Or better still, let's outlaw the FDA, big government, and these kinds of protection rackets by voting libertarian.

Jackie Schmidts    
March, 12, 2013 at 02:26 PM

It is great to see the legitimate dairy farming industry start to realize what the sale of un-pasteurized raw milk direct from a cow to the general population will mean and to their detriment. Raw milk from cows that has not been tested can be very dangerous. There are outbreaks in of sickness in many states from people consuming raw milk just about every month, Alaska was a recent one the state of Washington another, click here: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/02/dungeness-valley-creamery-recalls-raw-milk-in-wa-state/#.UT-AXxyG1qU If a person wants to drink a raw milk product, we suggest they buy their own animal, freshen her and drink that milk. But don't subject your bad habit on the general public while spouting false claims about raw milk and where it comes from. If a dairy farmer wants to sell raw milk, ask them why they don't test their milk every day like those that send their milk to a pasteurizing plant. When the hem and haw, you know you've got them. If they make a claim their product is safe, ask why every load of milk from a dairy farm has to be tested before it is allowed into a pasteurized plant. Ask the dairy farmer that suggests raw milk is healthier that pasteurized milk why plants aren't allowed to sell raw milk. I think you get the point here. Raw milk can casue sever sickness and the legitimate dairy farming industry and for that matter the pasteurized milk and dairy companies don't want a black eye from the raw milk supporter.

Jackie Schmidts    
March, 12, 2013 at 02:29 PM

Milk is not allowed to have artifical sweetners in it. This is a false statement by Dreen. Another false statement is raw milk doesn't cause more illness, it does, facts are facts. Look them up here: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-questions-and-answers.html

Roger Bird    
Colorado Springs  |  March, 12, 2013 at 03:09 PM

"legitimate dairy farming industry" Jackie, that was precious. The legitimate dairy farming industry. That is so precious that I can't think of anything to say other than it is profoundly stupid. The unexamined life is not worth living. Using fancy phrases like "legitimate dairy farming industry" is part and parcel of an unexamined life. That phrase has about as much meaning as the word "natural" does on a cosmetics jar.

Colorado Springs  |  March, 12, 2013 at 03:14 PM

Jackie, Raw milk may on rare occasion be dangerous, but pasteurized milk is ALWAYS detrimental to one's health. And your supporting the outlawing of raw milk says a number of things. (1) You think that your own breasts are poisonous. (2) You are no friend of freedom. Are you intending to breast feed your own children? If so, make sure that you pasteurize your own breast milk before letting your bundle drink it. Otherwise you are being dishonest and/or risking the baby's health.

Roger Bird    
Colorado Springs  |  March, 12, 2013 at 03:16 PM

Milk may not be allowed to have artificial sweeteners in it now, but some dairy industry moron is working on it.

Colorado Springs  |  March, 12, 2013 at 03:20 PM

Jackie, the science is there to prove that raw milk is better healthwise. And my own experience and the experience of thousands of people is there to demonstrate that raw milk is better. But you don't want to see those studies nor to hear about our experience because you have an agenda. Does the dairy council pay you to write such drivel? I saw my son stop having allergies. There was no other explanation other than raw milk. And thousands of other people will say the same thing. But you believe that large institutions with lots of money can only be the ones who are scientific.

March, 13, 2013 at 08:53 PM

Aspartame in milk http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/aspartame-milk_n_2828359.html

Alice Goodman    
MO  |  March, 14, 2013 at 02:04 AM

Not everyone has the ability to buy there own milk animals. I can't believe you are seriously making such a suggestion. Deciding what foods you want to put in your body is a human right. It is absurd for people like you to try and control the diets of strangers for your own selfish reasons. If raw milk was more easily available it would be that much more safe. As it is having to travel long distances to find it creates an increase in contamination. How about we agree that you don't drink raw milk and I will? I won't get involved in your choices and you won't get involved in mine? Keep in mind Europe has many countries where raw milk is produced in a safe way.

Alice Goodman    
MO  |  March, 14, 2013 at 02:06 AM

Dairy Industry Wants to Spike Milk with Aspartame (And Not Tell You) http://www.care2.com/causes/dairy-industry-wants-to-spike-milk-with-aspartame-and-not-tell-you.html The dairy industry has petitioned the FDA to put aspartame in milk but not label it. http://ontd-political.livejournal.com/10450040.html "Dairy industry groups have asked the Food and Drug Administration to be able to put artificial sweeteners in milk, and not change the label, claiming that it is so consumers can "more easily identify its overall nutritional value"."

Colorado Springs  |  March, 14, 2013 at 08:50 AM

This is extremely scummy and threatening. Everyone knows that aspartame is harmful, but the FDA, in it's mighty biased "wisdom", has decided that it isn't harmful. I have been bringing my pasteurized milk back to life with kefir. But should this get past the tyrants at the FDA, I will have to go back to buying raw milk, which is expensive and a hassle.

Central Montana  |  March, 14, 2013 at 09:29 AM

There are plenty of cases where pasteurized milk and milk products have made people sick. Just do a google search. Didn't Schwan's out of Minnesota have a problem with contaminated ice cream? It seems like there was a dairy plant in Helena, Montana that also had a problem with contaminated pasteurized milk products.

November, 04, 2013 at 05:04 PM

Of course we so trust the feds.

November, 04, 2013 at 05:08 PM


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