I missed out on the Legislative Hearing in California on Raw Milk bacterial limits. However, one of my crack lawyers was there and the hearing is all of tape for later use (from the video it reminds me of a Grateful Dead concert). The bottom line seems to be that the lawmakers felt the Department of Agriculture had not adequately informed them of possible opposition, and that the two major producers of raw milk would be put out of business because they could not meet the new standards. There also was some discussion about the pros and cons of drinking raw milk – health benefits vs health risks. That debate will go on.
Dennis Pollock of the Fresno Bee seems to be one of the only reporters brave enough to join in the Hearing frenzy – "Lawmakers backtrack, push repeal of raw milk limits"
Dairies hit by a new law two weeks ago say the bacteria regulations will force them to shut, and a state agency draws heat. Just two weeks after new restrictions on raw milk took effect, the Assembly Agriculture Committee voted unanimously this week to repeal them after the state’s two raw milk producers said they would go out of business if they had to comply. The measure, Assembly Bill 1604, would stop enforcement of limits for raw milk of 10 coliform bacteria or less per milliliter until June 30. Effective July 1, it would fix the limit at 50 coliform bacteria or fewer per milliliter.
Some of raw milk’s appeal is that it contains "essential probiotic good bacteria," said Mark McAfee, founder and an owner of Organic Pastures.
On the other coast lawmakers also passed legislation to bolster dairy income. WCAX reported, "Bill Would Let Farmers Sell More Raw Milk."
A new bill in the Vermont legislature would allow farmers to sell unlimited amounts of raw milk directly to consumers. Supporters say it will provide extra income for farmers. A gallon of raw milk that’s unpasteurized sells for about 6 dollars. Currently there are limits to how much raw milk farmers can sell because of health concerns. The bill would set up new health standards, including regular testing of the milk and labeling requirements. Raw milk could not be sold at retail shops or farm markets– only direct to consumers. Farmers would also have to keep a list of who buys it.
With the political debate season in full swing, it would be interesting to have the heavy-weights in the Raw Milk debate square off. So, if we could organize such a debate, who would be the best representative on either side?