Source: National Milk Producers Federation
The National Milk Producers Federation today thanked West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for vetoing legislation allowing consumers to obtain unpasteurized milk through herd-shares, or arrangements under which they become part owners of a dairy cow. Tomblin said the bill posed “a serious risk to public health.”
“The link between consuming raw milk and foodborne illness has been well-documented, with evidence spanning nearly 100 years,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “At the same time, no claims of additional health benefits from drinking raw milk over pasteurized milk have been substantiated. NMPF and the nation’s dairy farmers appreciate that Governor Tomblin sided with public health experts over raw milk advocates in rejecting SB 30.
“Endangering public health is no way for any state to operate and we appreciate Governor Tomblin heeding that message,” Mulhern added. “At least six other state legislatures have bills pending that would ease raw milk sales to consumers. We urge them to follow West Virginia’s lead and reject these measures.”
The state legislature sent Tomblin SB 30 late last month. NMPF, the voice of 32,000 dairy farmers nationwide, urged a veto in a joint letter with the International Dairy Foods Association, which represents dairy processors.
Tomblin announced his veto today, saying that consuming raw milk “has inherent dangers and . . . is particularly dangerous to children, pregnant women, and persons with compromised immunity.” Currently, no form of raw milk sales are permitted in West Virginia.
NMPF has led the dairy industry in opposing efforts to make raw milk more accessible to consumers. Unpasteurized milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of pathogenic bacteria including E. coli 0157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella.
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF’s activities, visit our website at www.nmpf.org.