Raw milk in Wisconsin headlines again

Real Milk Time

Photo by Chiot’s Run [Susy Morris] via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Raw milk is making headlines again in Wisconsin. As Jessica VanEgeren reports for The Capital Times,

Former Gov. Jim Doyle may have banned raw milk sales in 2010, but that didn’t end the debate over the controversial dairy product in Wisconsin.

Indeed, as the trial against defiant raw milk seller Vernon Hershberger is set to resume Monday in Sauk County Circuit Court, state Sen. Glenn Grothman has revived the issue on the legislative front with his announcement that he will try again to legalize the sale of raw milk.

Grothman, R-West Bend, has been an advocate of legalizing raw milk for years, including speaking out against Doyle after he abruptly vetoed its sale despite earlier signals that he would approve it….

About a month after Doyle’s veto, state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) officials raided Hershberger’s property in Loganville and shut down his on-farm store. The store sold raw dairy and other farm-fresh products.

He was subsequently charged by the state with four misdemeanors: distributing milk from a dairy farm without a milk producer’s license, operating a retail food establishment without a license, operating a dairy plant without a license and selling raw milk.

Find the full story here, which includes a number of informative links.

One of those links is to Rick Barrett’s recent article for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Grothman’s efforts. As Barrett describes,

With little exception, state law prohibits the sale of raw milk to the public. Those who want the law changed say that fresh, unprocessed milk contains nutrients that are destroyed by pasteurization – and that consumers should be able to decide for themselves if they want it.

Public health and dairy industry officials say unpasteurized milk may carry pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses. They also worry that any illness outbreak associated with raw milk would tarnish the reputation of Wisconsin’s dairy industry….

Details of Grothman’s new bill aren’t yet available, but it’s expected to be similar to what he proposed in 2011.

Raw-milk advocates say they’re hopeful it will be passed by the Legislature despite opposition that’s likely to come from Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, the state’s largest farm association, and dairy producer organizations.

Check out Barrett’s full piece here.


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