Despite concerns from many lawmakers, the Assembly has approved a bill allowing dairy farmers to sell raw milk. The bill allows the sale of unpasteurized milk on dairy farms with a permit from the state Ag Department.
State Representative Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids) is among many lawmakers worried that raw milk sales could lead to a disease outbreak that would damage Wisconsin’s reputation as the dairy state. Schneider says it would jeopardize the entire industry if something were to happen.
Several members of the Legislature who are current or former dairy farmers shared similar concerns about the bill.
However, state Representative Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau) says strict controls will be in place to prevent that from happening. He says frequent testing will be done and farmers will have to post a clear notice to customers about the risks. The bill also includes a sunset provision, which would end sales on December 31 of 2011.
Danou says the measure simply helps to bring regulation to a business practice that’s already occurring at dairy farms across the state.
The legislation passed on a 60-35 vote and now heads to the Governor.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:02)