By Scott Bauer, Associated Press Writer, Madison, WI, May 5, 2010.
Raw milk advocates hope passage of Wis. bill will encourage other states to legalize sales too. The legislation, Senate Bill 434, would allow licensed producers to sell raw milk through the end of next year if they obtain a license from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, adhere to regular testing, label each bottle as ‘unpasteurized,’ and include both the producer’s name and license number on the label, according to Wisconsin Ag Connection. Senate Committee on Agriculture and Higher Education removed the clause that would prevent lawsuits against farmers who sold tainted milk when they passed the bill last month.
The bill was authored by Senator Pat Kreitlow and Rep. Chris Danou, with key amendments drafted in cooperation with Senator Sheila Harsdorf. Danou says the Senate’s actions are about ‘rural economic development,’ and he thinks its a win-win situation for family farmers who have found a way to add value to their businesses.
“This vote is a major victory for the right of the informed consumer to make their own choices,” Kreitlow said. “The passage of the bill will go a long way towards eliminating the black market of illegal raw milk sales that exists as well as addressing the public health concerns that come with it.”
Although federal law makes it illegal to sell raw milk across state lines, 25 states allow raw milk to be sold directly to consumers or through retail outlets. Opponents, however, say producers free choice should not be held above consumer safety.
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