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Gov. Walker Indicates Raw Milk Bill Would be Hard to Sign
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 12/04/2013

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has probably given his clearest indication yet as to what he would do if the so-called raw milk bill clears the Legislature. During a speech at the Dairy Business Association's annual meeting in Madison on Tuesday, he said the two biggest factors to consider when looking at legalizing the sale of unpasteurized milk to the public is the integrity of the dairy industry and the health of children.

"I want to make it clear that I want to protect our status as America's Dairyland," Walker noted. "We should be able to guarantee that kids in this state and in this country will have access to fresh and safe milk and dairy products. I'm not going to do anything that puts at risk any child who consumes products that comes out of the state of Wisconsin."

This is the second time the governor has stressed the importance making sure any dairy products sold to consumers must be safe for him to sign the measure. In September, Walker made headlines when he told reporters that if the dairy and medical industries end their opposition to the idea he would have no problem signing the legislation. Those are the very groups asking him to veto it.

Last month a Senate committee voted to adopt a modified version of the raw milk bill, which includes some additional safeguards. But supporters say the new rules would be too strict to enforce.

As part of the amended changes, the state would create a new Grade 1 unpasteurized milk license and set requirements for regular sampling, record-keeping, labeling and state inspections every two years. The product must also be free of campylobacter, salmonella, specific strains of listeria and e. coli., and antibiotic drug residue.

Opponents have long argued that as long as people continue to get sick from drinking raw milk that becomes contaminated with bacteria, it should never be legally sold to the public.

Currently 19 states allow direct sales of raw milk from dairy farmers to individuals.

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