AP’s Scott Bauer and I caught up with each other this morning shortly after Governor Jim Doyle vetoed a bill that would have allowed limited sales of raw milk in Wisconsin, saying he was protecting citizens’ health and safety. He also expressed concerns about how a possible outbreak of disease from drinking the unpasteurized milk could affect the state’s $26 billion dairy industry.
"I recognize that there are strong feelings on both sides of this matter, but on balance, I must side with the interests of public health and the safety of the dairy industry," he said in his veto letter to lawmakers.
Since I provided information and video’s to the Governor on raw milk, Mr. Bauer asked my thoughts on the veto:
Seattle attorney Bill Marler, who has represented children and families all over the country sickened by E. coli and other food contaminants, said Doyle did the right thing. "Because Wisconsin’s well-known as the ‘Dairy State,’ it sends the message that other states need to take a deep breath and understand that raw milk does not come without risks," Marler said.
As I have said before, a complete ban is not workable. However, I would suggest any raw milk program consider the following:
1. Raw milk should be sold only on farms that are certified by the state and inspected and tested regularly. Make ambiguous black market milk/cheese sales and "pet food sales" meant for human consumption clearly illegal
2. Raw milk should not be sold in grocery stores or across state lines–the risks of mass production and transportation are too great; the risk of a casual purchase by someone misunderstanding the risks is too great, as well
3. Farms should be required to have insurance coverage sufficient to cover reasonable damages to their customers
4. Practices such as outsourcing (buying raw milk from farms not licensed for raw milk production) should be illegal
5. Colostrum should be regulated as a dairy product, not a nutritional supplement
6. Warning signs on the bottles and at point-of-purchase should be mandatory. An example:
"WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria (not limited to E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria and Salmonella). Pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly and persons with lowered resistance to disease (immune compromised) have the highest risk of harm, which includes Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Miscarriage, or Death, from use of this product."
For more information on raw milk, please visit www.realrawmilkfacts.com.