Regulations that will likely result in more people getting sick are the regulations most people want, says Dean Finkenbinder, consumer health services manager for Wyoming’s Agriculture Department.
He is referring to language the department plans to send to the Attorney General, making it legal for cow shareowners to acquire the raw milk. It is the most controversial part of a year-long overhaul of food safety rules in the Cowboy State.
But at every public meeting on the new food safety rules, cow share supporters have shown up to make their case and Finkenbinder now says, “that’s the direction we’re going.”
There are a couple of steps remaining. Rule changes first go to the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office and there is time for comment by the Legislative Service Office. Finally, they will require the signature of Gov. Matt Mead before they can into effect.
If Gov. Mead goes along — and it’s likely he will since his Ag Department wants the changes — it will be a victory for State Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse. It was her idea to pursue the somewhat subtle change to just get cow shares made legal.
Wallis in the past introduced legislation to make raw milk sales legal in Wyoming, but has since gone with this more stepped approach.
The Wyoming Health Department continues to warn that raw milk carries a risk for harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites along with several foodborne diseases. It wants to ensure that those getting into cow share agreements know the risks.
Raw milk advocates like Wallis argue there are health benefits to the beverage and economic advantages for almost the entirety of rural Wyoming.© Food Safety News