West Bend Republican Senator Glenn Grothman introduces legislation to allow limited sales of unpasteurized milk and milk products in Wisconsin. “Raw milk is something that chiropractors frequently recommend,” he says, “nutritionists recommend as a health food. Unfortunately, there is a law on the books where technically it’s still illegal to sell raw milk in the state of Wisconsin.”
In addition to the health benefits of the product, Grothman touts the great taste, and a potential bump in tourism to this Dairy State.
Under current law, a farmer who sells raw milk could be stripped of their license. This bill allows a dairy farmer to register with DATCP for the purpose of selling his product directly to consumers on the farm. “There will be the same requirements as you would normally have for grade A milk — cleanliness requirements, temperature requirements, that sort of thing. So we will assure that milk is safe.”
Raw milk will not be available in grocery stores or at farmers markets.
Certain criteria must be met before the sale can be made, including providing clean containers, proper labeling, a posted sign, and sellers must comply with DATCP rules.
Opponents claim raw milk has health dangers associated with it. Shawn Pfaff of the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition says it’s impossible to make unpasteurized milk safe, but Grothman insists his health-conscious friends swear by it. He says the opposition is about protecting distributor profits rather than protecting public health.
Grothman hopes this measure will promote diary sales overall — both raw and pasteurized.
A public hearing on the controversial subject is expected in September or October. Similar bills were introduced in previous legislatures but failed. In 2010, legislation made it all the way to then-governor Jim Doyle’s desk, but he vetoed it.
A spokesman for Governor Scott Walker said earlier this year he might be willing to sign such a bill into law provided there are safeguards for public health and to protect the integrity of the state’s dairy industry.
Grothman says a compromise in the bill might allow for the sale of raw milk, but not other milk products.