Raw Milk Bill Officially Introduced in Wisconsin

As promised, Wisconsin Representative David Murphy (R-Greenville) has introduced a bill that would legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk and dairy products, when sold directly to consumers on the farm.

Previous attempts to change raw milk legislation were drafted in 2013 and 2014; both bills failed to make it to a vote on the state legislature floor. Wisconsin, “the heart of American’s dairy land,” is seemingly one of the most difficult states to pass raw milk-friendly regulations due to its Big Dairy presence and reputation.

Read more about the controversy and the proposed bill here.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org

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Raw Milk Heats Up in Wisconsin

Previous efforts to legalize raw milk sales in America’s Dairyland have been unsuccessful, but Wisconsin raw milk advocates in the region haven’t given up hope yet. Assembly Republican David Murphy of Greenville, WI says he plans to introduce a new bill in November 2015 that will give people the freedom to buy raw milk straight from the farm.

Former Governor Jim Doyle previously rejected a similar bill when it came across his desk in 2010, due to last-minute lobbying to convince him of the risk that raw milk-related illnesses could pose to Wisconsin’s reputation. Current Governor Scott Walker’s office said they will consider a similar bill if it reaches his desk but that it must include safeguards to protect individuals’ health and the reputation of the dairy industry.

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Wisconsin Senate Committee Passes Raw Milk Legislation

On November 12, 2013, the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Rural Issues passed Senate Bill 236, which would allow the sale of raw milk directly to consumers on the farm.

The Bill makes several requirements of the farms, including:

  • Farms selling raw milk must register with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
  • Farms must keep records of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of raw milk customers.
  • Farmers must take daily milk samples that must be available to health officials.
  • Raw milk must be free of pathogens, as determined by monthly tests, and meet bacterial and somatic cell counts.

Unfortunately, people on both sides of the issue have complaints about the bill. Some raw milk advocates believe the requirements could make it too expensive for small farms to sell raw milk. Some raw milk opponents believe the bill is too relaxed and are unlikely to support farm inspections once every two years when once every six months is standard for other dairy businesses.

Current Wisconsin law prohibits the sale of raw milk, so the passage of this bill is a small yet significant step. Wisconsin is the heart of America’s Dairyland, and “…has been at the center of the national raw milk debate for several years, [so] the current legislation will be watched closely by both sides of the issue in other states.” The bill passed the committee by 3-2 and now goes to the full Senate for vote.

Sources:

http://www.jsonline.com/business/wisconsin-bill-would-legalize-raw-milk-with-caveats-b99139658z1-231516791.html

http://www.jsonline.com/business/senate-committee-passes-measure-to-legalize-raw-milk-sales-b99140829z1-231603271.html

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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Dairy Industry Groups Don’t Speak on Behalf of All Dairy Farmers

The Wisconsin Senate is considering a bill that would allow small, local farms to sell raw milk so long as it is labeled as such, provided in a clean container, and complies with DATCP rules for grade A milk regarding appearance and odor, bacterial count, temperature, and other factors.

Unsurprisingly, the FDA, Wisconsin Public Health Association, and the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments oppose the bill. The Dairy Business Association and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association also oppose the bill. Most recently, the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition, a group made up of public health officials, dairy processor groups, and dairy farmers also opposed the bill. All groups cited raw milk being “unsafe for human consumption” as their primary reason for banning the sale of raw milk in the state. Continue reading

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Wisconsin Action Alert

Wisconsin is currently considering Senate Bill 236 and Assembly Bill 287, bills that would permit the sale of raw milk directly from Wisconsin farmers to consumers.  Raw milk has been a staple of Wisconsin and American diets for many generations and it has been consumed for many years without negative health effects.

The bill is sponsored by Senators Grothman, Schultz, Leibham, Vukmir and Tiffany; cosponsored by Representatives Murphy, Danou, Clark, Doyle, Knodl, Craig, Pridemore, Pope and Berceau.
The Weston A. Price Foundation is in support of the bill.
Action to Take Continue reading
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Proposed Wisconsin Legislation to Allow Sale of Raw Milk

New legislation that would allow Wisconsin farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers is currently being drafted at the state capitol.

The proposed bill would allow farmers to sell Grade A raw milk directly from the farm to consumers, so long as the milk is labeled as unpasteurized. Additional “unpasteurized” signs would need to be posted at the farm. Continue reading

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Raw Milk Trial Ends in Victory for Food Rights

The riveting, weeklong trial of Vernon Hershberger, the Wisconsin farmer charged with four counts relating to selling raw milk and cheese, ended on May 25th with the jury finding him not guilty on 3 of the 4 charges – giving raw milk advocates hope that public support for the legalization of unpasteurized dairy products is gaining momentum. 

Hershberger was declared innocent of producing milk without a license, selling milk and cheese products without a license, and operating a retail establishment without a license. He was found guilty of one count of breaking a holding order issued by the state in June 2010, which prohibited Hershberger from selling or distributing any of the food he produced without a license. Hershberger faces up to 1 year in prison and a maximum penalty of $10,000.

“The maximum penalty is still a small price to pay compared to the price of a guilty conscience because of letting good food spoil while families with small children are in need of it,” said Hershberger.

The not guilty verdict on the other three counts means that Hershberger can continue to sell raw milk and raw milk products to members of his buying club – ensuring that Wisconsin residents who rely on raw milk for health benefits have at least one way to get it.

Read The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the trial, and watch a short clip here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324125504578509453007615858.html

Read the full press release on Hershberger verdict here:

http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2013/05/28/550238/10034247/en/Jury-Finds-Peaceful-Farmer-Does-Not-Need-Licenses.html

Realmilk.com is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation.

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