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Raw Milk Bill Brought Back in America’s Dairy State

Buoyed by the partial acquittal of Sauk County raw milk producer Vernon Hershberger, a Wisconsin state senator is going to try again to make it legal to sell unpasteurized milk and milk products in the Diary State.

West Bend Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman has dropped a bill into the Wisconsin Legislature that would allow limited sales of raw milk and raw milk products, which he claims are recommended by nutritionists and chiropractors for health benefits.

“Unfortunately, there is a law on the books where technically it’s still illegal to sell raw milk in the state of Wisconsin,” says Grothman. His bill would permit the sale of unpasteurized milk from farms registered with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The same farms would sell buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, ice cream, butter and cheese made with raw milk.

Grothman’s bill, which won’t go to a public hearing until Fall, would allow on the farm sales directly to consumers, but would continue to ban retail sales in stores or farmer’s markets.

A dairy farm that sells raw milk directly to consumers would risk losing their license. The Grothman bill sets up an exemption to that possibility by allowing those interested in selling raw milk to register with DATCP.

The Senator claims farms that register will be under the same requirements, as they would normally have for producing grade A milk regarding cleanliness, temperature, and other safety requirements.

The bill also sets up criteria for clean containers, proper labeling, a posted sign, and compliance with all state rules. As Wisconsin is the nation’s largest dairy state, Grothman will face strong opposition by the multi-billion dollar pasteurized milk industry, which claims raw milk’s frequent outbreaks gives their product a bad name.

A spokesman for the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition say it is impossible to make raw milk safe. The Wisconsin Legislature passed a raw milk bill in 2010, but former Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed it. Attempts by Grothman and others since then to permit raw milk have since failed to go anywhere. A task force appointed by Doyle outlined what it would take to make raw milk both safe and legal in Wisconsin, but Grothman has ignored those stiffer requirements and other raw milk advocates.

Scott Walker, the current governor, has indicated he could sign a raw milk bill with sufficient safe guards in it. Unlike most state legislatures in the Midwest, the Wisconsin Legislature meets periodically throughout the year.

© Food Safety News
  • EMIRCITNA

    SUGAR along with HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP are a much bigger threat to human health than raw milk will ever be ….yet both are in a HIGH percentage of American food products!!!

    • Emily Nelson

      False equivalency, as usual. The illnesses, if any, caused by high fructose corn syrup have absolutely nothing to do with the illnesses, which are many, caused by drinking raw milk.

      • Roger Bird

        Emily, you lie. The illness caused by raw milk are extremely few and far between. The illness caused by ALL frankenfoods account for most of the premature deaths in America.

        • Marchelle

          They’re so few and far between that food borne illnesses from raw milk accounted for 25 percent of them before pasteurization, and now account for less than 1 percent. I’m personally for the limited and regulated sale of raw milk, but the far too many producers who want to sell it solely because they don’t want to comply with safety regulations are the very reason why it’s so difficult to achieve this. That, and their insistence on continually spouting half crocked “facts” about the supposed benefits about raw milk that have zero scientific basis. Tone down some of the nutjob rhetoric and you might actually get somewhere.

          • Roger Bird

            But we are not talking about “before pasteurization”. We are talking now. And everyone interested in raw milk including the farmers understands the importance of good hygiene. When you understand the raw milk movement, then you won’t make such incorrect comparisons.

          • Roger Bird

            We are not talking about raw milk 113 years ago. We are talking about raw milk now. People including farmers now are much more aware of the important of hygiene. And we are not talking about raw milk from factory dairy cows, but rather raw milk from grass-fed, “organic” cows who are tame and affectionate. Why is this important? In addition to the ethical issues, loved cows put out better and healthier milk. Stressed cows dump stress hormones into their milk.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

    Ingredients: milk

  • Diane

    So much for election promises, Governor. Are you reading these comments and investigation the situation? The safeguards ARE in place. Why not visit one of these farms and watch the milking operation? I have and see no problem at all! The milk goes straight through steel pipes from the washed teat to the milk tank to get the milk from. Wonderful, delicious, healthy milk with the cream that lubicates and heals instead of feeding fat cells. Believe me, the farmer can usually show you a family of very healthy children.