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Wisconsin Ag News Headlines
Only 10 Days Left for Legislature to Take up Raw Milk Debate
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/12/2010

With the current legislative session about to wrap up in a week and a half, supporters of a bill that would legalize the sales of unpasteurized milk to consumers in Wisconsin are getting even more vocal about their stance. During a public gathering on the issue in Madison over the weekend, farmers and consumers who enjoy drinking raw milk said there are benefits that they want their lawmakers to know about before deciding how to vote on the issue.

There were about 300 people at the forum. Some of the participants pointed out that producers would get nearly 10 times the money for their product if they sold it directly to consumers. Others pointed out that unpasteurized milk is more nutritious because it contains enzymes and bacteria that boost the immune system. However, most supporters contend that the government shouldn't have a say in what farmers do with their product because a lot of other commodities are sold in its 'raw form' to consumers.

The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Chris Danou of Trempealeau and Sen. Pat Kreitlow from Chippewa Falls, would set up a one-year trial program that would require farmers to obtain a license from the state and adhere to regular testing before selling the product. In addition, the measure would require every bottle to be clearly labeled as 'unpasteurized' and include both the producer's name and license number.

Meanwhile, not everyone in the dairy industry is sold on the idea. Opponents say raw milk can cause epidemiological outbreaks and would be detrimental to the entire industry if someone got sick from drinking it.

Right now, there are 25 states that allow raw milk to be sold directly to consumers or through retail outlets.

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