A broad coalition is calling on Governor Doyle to veto a bill that legalizes the sale of raw milk in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association President Brian Baker says the bill allowing the sale of unpasteurized milk products could badly damage the state’s $26 billion dairy industry, if even one outbreak were to occur because of tainted milk.
Baker says that could seriously hurt confidence in dairy producers across Wisconsin, and harm the billions of pounds of milk produced in the state that are sold each year, and all the products it goes to make.
Waterloo dairy farmer Bob Topel says the proposal goes against everything they know about the science of milk production. He says it’s an issue he never thought would have to be debated and the idea of bringing it back gives him “shivers” over what it could do to the industry.
Supporters of the bill say it includes safeguards to protect the public, such as regular testing. Doug Gieryn of the Wisconsin Public Health Association says that hasn’t helped in other states, where sales of raw milk have lead to outbreaks of illness and even deaths. He says tests can’t catch all the potential pathogens that could be present in the product, and sales could put the health of the public at risk.
The Governor had initially said he would likely sign the bill, but recently has been undecided about what action he’ll take.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:19)