NMPF and IDFA criticize Wisconsin raw milk bill
With Wisconsin’s governor poised to sign legislation allowing raw milk sales
direct to consumers in that state, the National Milk Producers Federation and
the International Dairy Foods Association have criticized elected officials for
downplaying the food safety risks inherent in raw dairy products, and urged
federal lawmakers to take measures restricting such sales. Wisconsin Governor
Jim Doyle has indicated he will sign a bill, approved earlier this spring by the
state legislature, which would allow dairy farms to sell milk directly to
consumers over the next two years. With Doyle’s signature, Wisconsin will join
approximately 28 other states that allow some form of raw milk sales or
distribution, either commercially or directly from farms.
Federal law prohibits the interstate sale of raw milk, but allows states individual discretion to regulate raw milk sales within their borders. Several states in recent years have joined Wisconsin in allowing the sale of raw milk, even as the product has been repeatedly linked to serious illnesses from coast to coast. “It is terribly ironic that, at a time when lawmakers in Washington are trying to pass a major food safety bill to protect consumers from foodborne illnesses, states like Wisconsin are going the opposite direction,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “Raw milk is a known source of life-threatening pathogens such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli. It’s an abdication of a public servant’s role to take actions that will result in more people, including children, becoming sickened by these bacteria.”
NMPF and IDFA have been urging lawmakers in Washington to add provisions to a major, pending food safety bill that would require sales of raw milk to come under the restrictions in the new law or, at a minimum, not exempt any farms from requirements that their products be regulated and tested for harmful bacteria.