Dairy groups oppose Farm Bill amendment legalizing raw milk sales

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The two organizations representing America’s dairy farmers and dairy foods companies jointly announced their opposition Friday to a proposal in the Senate that would allow the interstate sales of raw milk.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, No. 2180, that would allow the direct sale of raw milk and raw milk products across state lines, “greatly enhancing the chances that people will become sick because of increased consumption of unpasteurized milk,” the two groups said in a letter sent to members of the Senate.

“Pasteurization is one of the greatest public health tools. To compromise or reduce its use through this legislation is not just bad politics – it’s a huge, inhumane step backwards, and one that will cause sickness and death,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF.

Federal law currently prohibits the interstate sale of raw milk, but allows states individual discretion to regulate raw milk sales within their borders. Several states in recent years have liberalized sale or distribution of raw milk, even as the product has been repeatedly linked to serious illnesses from coast to coast.

“The link between raw milk and foodborne illness has been well-documented in the scientific literature, with evidence spanning nearly 100 years, said Connie Tipton, President and CEO of IDFA. “Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens, which is why its consumption has been opposed by every major health organization in the United States, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

Kozak said that lawmakers have to keep in mind that “nearly two-thirds of all outbreaks associated with raw milk or raw milk products involve children. It is the responsibility of our nation’s leaders to make decisions to protect the health of the American public, most especially, those who are minors and are unable to make fully informed decisions that could have profound consequences for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Tipton said that “While consumer choice is an important value, it should not pre-empt public health and well-being. Legalizing the sale of raw milk and raw milk products to consumers, either through direct sale or through cow-share programs, represents an unnecessary risk to consumer safety. Therefore, we ask that you oppose Amendment No. 2180.”

The Senate is expected to begin debating this and other amendments to the Farm Bill this week.

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Wisconsin  |  June, 09, 2012 at 03:15 PM

Complete rubbish. No one has died from drinking raw milk in 50 years. Meanwhile thousands of people are regularily made sickic health reghulation

Wisconsin  |  June, 09, 2012 at 03:40 PM

This article is garbage. No one has died from drinking raw milk in 50 years. Meanwhile thousands of people are regularily made sick by the endocrine disruptors and antibiotics in store bought homogenized pasteurized industrial milk Google " food allegins " and you find store bought milk is #1. 9700 children per year end up in the emergency room with severe allergic reactions to something fishy in the food they ate or drank. Consumption of store bought fluid milk drops by 1.5% per year and is down 50% in the last 40 years because nobody wants to touch the stuff. Meanwhile according to the CDC 3% of the USA now drinks raw milk regularily and nobody is getting sick. In fact people are geting healthy. Any suggestion that the raw milk debate is about health is a lie. It is about market regulation and control. What large dairy or dairy processor or grocery chain likes the idea of 10,000 small dairy farms selling milk direct to consumers across North America? Big dairy has a funny definition of being concerned with human health. A few years ago the Wall Street Journal tested 100 samples of super market milk and found antibiotices in 85% of them. This is not about public health. It is about freedom and about large entities using government agencies to deny the freedom of others. The mood in the country today is decidedly against the government telling us wht to eat or say or do.This is a battle Big Dairy is going to lose. If they would stop their childish knee jerk reaction in trying to kill raw milk sales for just a minute, they might notice that the rising popularity of raw milk is the best thing to happen to the dairy industry since the invention of the vacume pump . Raw milk sales and raw milk farms are going to restore the good name and image of dairy farms and the popularity of drinking milk even if only a small percentage of people ever drink raw milk.

Gordon S Watson    
Burnaby + Chilliwack British Columbia  |  June, 09, 2012 at 04:05 PM

if fresh, whole raw milk from artisanal producers is so dangerous, how come there are more than 100 such dairies in England, with no one getting sick for over a decade? What is it they know that the commercial farmers in the US of A cannot seem to figure out? It's most amusing that every time the dairy cartel trots-out its scaremongering, more people come out to the farm, looking for the good stuff

Chris Martin    
29445  |  June, 09, 2012 at 06:57 PM

My autistic child reacted violently to pasturized milk - to the point that he snored while standing next to you. Red eyes, eczema, stimming (repetitive hand movements). We put him on alternative milks. A nutritionist recommended raw milk (Jersey or Guernsey, no Holstein) after he developed allergies to soy. I studied it for six months. We started slowly, a teaspoon, a tablespoon, a cup every other day. Watched carefully. No reaction. He now drinks a quarter to a half gallon a day. No reactions, no illnesses. He grew six inches in six months. He is muscular and strong at age fourteen. I strongly support free access to raw milk for those who desire it.

June, 10, 2012 at 11:24 PM

“Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens, which is why its consumption has been opposed by every major health organization in the United States, ....These are the same major health organizations that convinced 2 generations of mothers to not breast feed their babies???? Food net Survey by the CDC found that 3% of the population drinks unpasteurized milk every Week. www.cdc.gov/foodnet/surveys/FoodNetExposureAtlas0607_508.pdf. Why is Connie Tipton spreading untruths? it’s a huge, inhumane step backwards, and one that will cause sickness and death,” says Jerry Kozak.. How does he know it will cause sickness and death. Where are the dead bodies if 3% of the population is drinking raw milk every week?? In fact, prescription drugs cause most of the more than 26,000 fatal overdoses each year, says Leonard Paulozzi of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I think 26,000 deaths is a huge inhumane step backwards

OH  |  June, 11, 2012 at 08:55 AM

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "From 1998 through 2009, 93 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to CDC. These resulted in 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. Because not all cases of foodborne illness are recognized and reported, the actual number of illnesses associated with raw milk likely is greater." http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-questions-and-answers.html Read that link before you drink any raw milk. Or this, "In February of this year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study which found that raw milk is 150 times more likely than pasteurized milk to sicken those who drink it. The study took into account all dairy-related outbreaks between 1993 and 2006." http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/04/dairy-related-outbreaks-illnesses-recalls-2010-to-present/

OH  |  June, 11, 2012 at 09:12 AM

Or how about this that happened this year. "Four children who drank the (raw) milk were hospitalized with acute kidney failure, which is associated with E. coli O157:H7. As of Friday, they were still in the hospital, Keene said. Two of the patients -- 14 and 13 -- are Portland area middle schoolers. The others are 3 and 1 years old." http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2012/04/oregon_health_officials_add_tw.html Do we really need to be doing this, causing acute kidney failures, to children as young as 1 year old? This farm only had 4 cows.

tom schinder    
north carolina  |  June, 11, 2012 at 02:44 PM

the reason dairy organizations oppose this is they are afraid small farmers might be able to sell their milk direct to consumers without them as middleman.

Craig Freitas    
Fresno, Ca  |  June, 11, 2012 at 11:19 PM

Corporate giants are try to keep their control over the market. I have lived with HIV/AIDS for 25 years and drink raw milk and dairy products. It is just another display of greed!

OH  |  June, 13, 2012 at 08:39 AM

keith, you must have the wrong farm. The farm in the link I provided is for Foundation Farm. Four children got sick not 3. The E Coli was found in the milk. http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2012/04/lab_tests_confirm_e_coli_in_ra.html

Rick Adam    
British Columbia  |  June, 16, 2012 at 04:02 PM

The only real reason for their protests is they realize that by the time a dairy herd reaches the size of their theirs it is virtually impossible to maintain the level of sanitation required to produce safe milk additionally they would have to change the cows diet from corn and grains to one consisting solely of grass. Industrialized food production is the true danger to human health.

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