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Local Governments Might Weigh In Against Raw Milk in Wisconsin

Local governments with responsibility for public health in Wisconsin do not want the state legislature to allow raw milk sales, but they’ve officially been on the sidelines over the issue. That may be about to change since Dane County, where the capital city of Madison is located, is planning to consider a resolution opposing substitute Senate Bill 236, which would permit the sale of raw milk products in the state.

The Dane County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider the resolution as early as Dec. 3, hoping to send a message to the Wisconsin Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker well in advance of a possible January Senate vote on the measure.

The resolution calls raw milk “a well-documented source of foodborne disease,” some of which it calls “life threatening.”

Until now, no local government has registered its opposition to SB 236, which was passed out of committee by a single vote earlier this month. However, public health organizations in Wisconsin, such as the Board of Health for Madison and Dane County, are united in their opposition to raw milk sales.

The possibility that other local governments might follow the Dane County supervisors into the fray has already set off some political fireworks in the Dairy State. Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, who sponsored Substitute SB 236, charged that Madison local government is siding with “agribusiness and the medical establishment.”

He said it’s just “more evidence of the desire for enforced conformity by the left.”

Organizations representing the pasteurized milk and dairy products that contribute nearly $30 billion to Wisconsin’s economy oppose making raw milk sales legal. However, dozens of people favor making raw milk sales legal in “America’s dairy state,” and they spoke out at public hearings this past fall.

The Wisconsin Legislature last approved raw milk sales in 2010, but former Gov. Jim Doyle was successful in vetoing that bill.

© Food Safety News
  • cathy

    Dairy farmers and their families have been drinking raw milk for generations. If it was so dangerous, there would be a big outcry in the news. As for raw milk sales hurting the Dairy industry–If anyone did get ill from drinking it, it would be noted in the report that the milk was raw and not the pasteurized milk bought in the store. Seems to me, if the cows are healthy, and the barn relatively clean, there is really nothing wrong with choice in this instance.