Raw Milk Bill Passes Wisconsin Senate

November 14, 2013 10:25 AM

Source: Dairy Business Association

The Dairy Business Association (DBA) is voicing their disappointment with the passage of Senate Bill 236 by the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Rural Issues this week. The amended bill would allow dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized milk directly to consumers from a farm and would only require the state to inspect the site once every two years.

"The additional so-called safeguards added to the bill will not protect adults and children from the dangers posed by drinking raw milk," said DBA's Executive Director Laurie Fischer. "It does absolutely nothing to protect the integrity of Wisconsin's dairy industry."

In testimony submitted to the committee on September 11, 2013, the DBA wrote that they opposed the bill "...because it has been proven that raw milk causes people to become ill. According to an analysis by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms that pose serious health risks. The CDC reported that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness, and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized products. Sickness and death of Wisconsin's adults and children who consume and purchase unpasteurized milk must not be allowed. In addition, research shows there is no meaningful difference between the nutritional values of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk."

Nearly 120 raw milk health outbreaks have occurred in the United States since 1998 according to the Real Raw Milk Facts working group that gathered the facts from the Center for Disease Control's FOOD database and news reports from across the United States. Of the nearly 120 total outbreaks, the overwhelming majority of them came from fluid milk, which resulted in 2,147 illnesses and two deaths.

DBA joined with the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition, a group that includes dairy farmers, health professionals, public health officials, dairy processor groups and veterinarians, as well as dairy industry leaders the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association to oppose the bill.

DBA's testimony concluded, "The DBA members are proud of the wholesome milk products our state produces. The Wisconsin dairy industry has seen incredible growth over the past decade. The dairy industry and the Wisconsin legislature have worked hard to maintain and grow our state and national brand as 'America's Dairyland.' We cannot risk losing Wisconsin's title as the number one cheese producer in the United States by allowing Senate Bill 236 to pass."

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