By Pete Kennedy, Esq.
Acceptance of raw milk by the “mainstream” continues to grow. The National Farmers Union (NFU) adopted pro-raw milk policies at its 111th Annual Convention, held in Springfield, Massachusetts March 2-5. The raw milk provisions NFU passed at its convention read, “We support:
a) The production and sale of raw milk as it provides a viable market niche for dairies. Because of the possible risks of cross contamination, we recommend that raw milk be bottled as the product of a single source and wherever possible at the physical location of that source. Single source bottling will keep intact the chain of responsibility and greatly aid in tracking possible cases of contamination,
b) Policies, practices and standards for responsible raw milk production for dairy producers that choose to produce raw milk (or raw dairy products) for human consumption, and
c) Equal access to raw milk (and/or raw dairy products) for human consumption for all consumers that choose to consume raw milk.”
In addition to the adopted policies, NFU delegates supported an end to the ban on the interstate distribution of raw milk. Mark McAfee, founder and CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy, proposed the policies on behalf of the Californian delegation to the convention; delegates from Pennsylvania and the northeastern states were the proposal’s main supporters.
NFU was established in 1902 and is one of the oldest national farmer organizations; it employs a team of state and national lobbyists to encourage pro-farm legislation and policy. NFU’s sister branch in the United Kingdom is moving in the same direction. In May the UK-NFU Dairy Board adopted a resolution supporting raw milk; the full NFU Council still needed to vote for the proposal to become official policy. On both sides of the Atlantic, NFU is acknowledging the demand for raw milk and is working to give its dairy members a chance to opt out of the commodity system.