The author of legislation which would allow for regulated sales of raw milk on dairy farms believes he has the votes to pass the measure. Tuesday, a committee of the state Assembly voted to approve an amended version of the bill which allows for the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk and other dairy products.
Fort Atkinson Democrat, Representative Andy Jorgenson, voted no. “We should make sure that we have all the bogeyman stories, all the different things that have to be taken a look at on this, to make it safe,” Jorgenson said after the 8-1 vote by the Assembly Committee on Rural Economic Development. “You can get very sick off of this (raw milk). Some people claim you can get very well off of this. There’s all kinds of different stories out there, and I want to spend a little more time on the verification, as to where these stories are coming from, are they true, are they not.”
The bill’s author, Trempealeau Democrat, Representative Chris Danou, says the bill is about allowing people to make their own decisions on whether or not to drink raw milk. “It is legal to sell in Wisconsin,” Danou notes. “It’s not illegal to consume, people consume it, they’re going to consume it. The reason I got involved was DATCP kept moving the regulatory hurdles on folks.” Danou says the state ag department currently allows “incidental” on farm sales of raw milk, but that term is not clearly defined.
The amended measure would require farmers who wish to sell raw milk register register with DATCP through the November of 2011. Danou says that allow time to develop a regulatory structure. Farmers would also be required to record each sale and to have their milk sampled and tested. In addition, signs on the farm would include warnings about bacteria in the milk which may result in illness. Individual containers would have to carry similar warnings.
“I have the votes to pass this bill (AB 628), if it comes to the floor” says Danou. “The issue will be whether my leadership allows it to be scheduled. I realize there’s a lot of pressure from certain groups that are opposed to the bill. But . . . based on the counts I’ve done, I have a clear majority should it come to the floor.”
Bob Hague (:65 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:65 MP3)