Raw Milk in the News
Wisconsin Ag Connection
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.”
Continue reading, “Gov. Walker Indicates Raw Milk Bill Would be Hard to Sign” at Wisconsin Ag Connection.
Food Safety News
By News Desk | December 3, 2013
The production, testing and labeling of raw milk will be under new rules in South Dakota effective Dec. 11, 2013.
State Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch approved the rules, clearing the way for the changes under consideration since early this year to go into effect. The changes were already passed by the South Dakota Legislature’s Rules Review Committee and were subjected to three public hearings.
Lentsch said that, “at a bare minimum,” the public needs to know that raw milk is not pasteurized and the date on which it was bottled.
“Those are all very minimum expectations that we’ve put out there for the raw milk producers, and it’s really for the public health and safety,” he said.
The new South Dakota rules set a maximum coliform level of 10 per milliliter for raw milk, which at least one producer says is “next to impossible to hit.” Dawn Habeck, who owns Black Hills Milk in Belle Fourche, predicts the new rules will put raw milk dairies out of business.
Continue reading, “South Dakota’s New Raw Milk Rules Effective Dec. 11” at Food Safety News.
Food Safety News
By Dan Flynn | November 13, 2013
A substitute raw-milk bill that still allows substandard testing was allowed out of the Wisconsin Senate Financial Institutions and Rural Issues Committee on Tuesday in Madison on a 3-2 vote.
It means that, at some point, probably after Jan. 1, the Wisconsin Senate will be voting on whether to allow sales of unpasteurized milk in America’s Dairy State. When a similar bill last passed the full Wisconsin Legislature in 2010, then-Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed it.
A spokesman for the powerful Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition, which unites the state’s public health and pasteurized dairy products communities, says the bill that passed out of committee sets substandard testing for raw milk.
And one of the two committee votes against the bill says raw milk causes enough foodborne illness outbreaks that the on-farm sales could harm Wisconsin’s $30-billion pasteurized dairy industry.
Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, says consumers have a long memory.
“I still won’t buy cantaloupe or spinach because of outbreaks a couple years ago,” she said.
Continue reading, “Wisconsin Senate Committee OKs Substitute Raw-Milk Bill” at Food Safety News.
Food Safety News
By Dan Flynn | November 6, 2013
The direct farm-to-consumer sale of raw milk in South Dakota is about to come with a short, blunt warning. Containers will soon carry labels stating: “Warning: Raw milk. This product has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria.”
At the same time, South Dakota will increase the maximum allowed bacteria count per milliliter to 30,000, up from 20,000. The change treats raw milk the same as South Dakota’s maximums for both Grade A and Grade B pasteurized dairies.
South Dakota, which does not allow retail sale of raw milk, has been working on rule changes since last spring for raw milk purchased on the farm or delivered to the consumer directly from the farm.
SD Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch signed off on the two rule changes on Oct. 21 after three public hearings held across the state. The South Dakota Legislature’s Interim Rules Committee will consider the changes on Nov. 12, and the new rules can take effect 30 days after that body’s approval.
Continue reading, “SD Raw Milk May Soon Get New Testing and Warning Labels” at Food Safety News.
By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter
MASCOT (WATE) - Deputies and Health Department workers swarmed a Knox County dairy farm Thursday after health officials say several children were sickened with E. coli.
The owner of McBee Dairy Farm on Strong Road in Mascot says she warns all her customers about the risk. Tennesseans can legally drink raw milk if they own the cow and McBee Dairy Farm is a privately owned cow-share operation.
Patrol cars lined the farm’s driveway Thursday as investigators collected samples from the cattle and their milk, trying to find where the E. coli outbreak came from.
“We were aware of it and our customers have all been made aware of it several times,” said owner Marcie McBee.
No one can purchase raw cow or goat milk from the farm after a cease and desist order was issued.
continue reading, “Knox Co. farm raided after several children sickened with E. coli” at WATE.com.
Belgian researchers have not exactly said the benefits of raw milk often cited by advocates exist only in their heads, but they’ve come pretty close. They’ve found that the only big difference between pasteurized and non-pasteurized milk is “organoleptic,” meaning how it tastes, smells, feels or appears.
Their conclusion: raw milk is a “realistic and unnecessary” health threat because, until pasteurized, milk pathogenic bacteria poses a significant threat from Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli.
Published in Food Control Journal, the Belgian research recommends the heat treatment of milk for human consumption, especially for young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.
The study did not find any support for the notions held by many raw-milk advocates that pasteurization “destroys the nutritional and health benefits of milk, and can even induce some detrimental effects.” The researchers say that those arguments can be refuted.
“It is clear that this ‘detrimental’ effect of heating does not countervail the risk poised by raw milk consumption, namely of milk-borne pathogen infection, which can have serious health consequences,” the Belgian study states.
Last month at two rambunctious public hearings held by the Wisconsin Senate, numerous advocates testified that raw milk offers special health benefits. Bills are pending in both Wisconsin’s Senate and General Assembly to allow the retail sale of raw milk, but since the hearings, they’ve not seen further action.
Continue reading, “Study: Raw and Pasteurized Milk Differ in Taste, Smell and Safety” at Food Safety News.
Food Safety News
By Dan Flynn, September 12, 2013
Since a Wisconsin jury decided Vernon Hershberger did not need a license to sell raw farm products directly to consumers, he is not in a mood to support a bill to allow on-the-farm sales of raw milk but only with a license requirement.
The Sauk County farmer was an early star witness Wednesday at a public hearing at the State Capitol in Madison on newly introduced House and Senate bills to allow licensed dairies to sell raw milk directly to the public. In May, Hershberger was acquitted on charges of operating a farm store without a retail food establishment permit, operating a dairy farm without a milk producer license, and operating a dairy plant without a license.
In his appearance before the Senate Financial Institutions and Rural Issues Committee, Hershberger said he understands the need for some licenses, such as the one he has for driving on public roads. But, he said, just as his 14-year old son does not need a license to drive a farm truck around his or his neighbor’s farm, the jury in Baraboo agreed he does not need a license to sell his raw products directly to the public.
“I am allowed to do what I do without a license,” he told the packed hearing room. Hershberger was found guilty on one misdemeanor count for breaking the seal on food put under a hold by state inspectors. He is appealing that conviction.
For the first time since former Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed a bill to permit on-the-farm sales of raw milk in 2010, the Wisconsin Legislature is taking up the issue again in its session now under way in Madison. The committee assigned to review Senate Bill 236 (and its companion bill in the House) was scheduled to take five hours of public testimony on Wednesday. It has another public hearing scheduled for Sept. 16 on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Lacrosse.
Food Safety News
BY NEWS DESK | JUNE 7, 2013
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval Thursday vetoed a bill to allow raw milk produced in rural Nye County to be distributed statewide, including the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
The Republican governor said his veto of Assembly Bill 209 (AB209) was prompted by the health concerns surrounding unpasteurized milk. He said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Medical Association and his own state health officer agreed that AB209 presents “significant public health risks.”
Under current Nevada law, local milk commissions are empowered to certify raw milk for sale solely within their county. Nye County has a milk commission that approves raw milk produced in the Amargosa Valley, but it needed AB209 to legally enter the Las Vegas market.
AB209 was passed unanimously by the Nevada House and encountered only four negative votes in the Senate.
Meanwhile across the country in Maine, the state Senate approved a measure exempting small raw milk producers from licensing requirements. It now goes over to the House.
Real Raw Milk Facts dairy-related outbreak and illness charts and tables were updated using CDC’s online foodborne disease outbreak database (1998-2010), and preliminary data gathered from government and dairy industry press releases, reports, and newsletters to document recent outbreaks (2011-present). Through May 2013, preliminary reports show a total of 4 outbreaks and 69 illnesses and at least 15 hosptializations from raw milk and cheese products due to Campylobacter and Salmonella infections. Thus far, no outbreaks from milk or cheese sold as pasteurized were identified in 2013.
Outbreaks from Foodborne Pathogens in Unpasteurized (Raw) Milk and Raw Milk Cheeses, United States, 1998-present
• 133 total outbreaks
o 99 fluid milk: 24 cow, 4 goat, 71 unspecified milk type
o 28 cheese: 2 aged, 3 homemade, 18 Mexican-style queso fresco, 1 goat chevre, 1 curds, 3 unspecified
o 6 multiple raw dairy products (fluid milk, cheese, and/or colostrum)
• 2,451 total illnesses, 2 deaths
o 1,786 fluid milk-related illnesses, no deaths: 460 cow, 63 goat, 1,263 unspecified
o 608 cheese-related illnesses: 46 aged, 80 homemade, 349 Mexican-style queso fresco (2 deaths), 5 goat chevre, 63 curds, 58 unspecified cheese type
o 57 multiple raw dairy products-related illnesses (fluid milk, cheese, and/or colostrum)
Download Table (pdf file): Raw-Dairy-Outbreak-Table.pdf
Outbreaks from Foodborne Pathogens in Milk and Cheeses Sold as Pasteurized, United States, 1998-present
• 29 total outbreaks
o 9 fluid milk
o 19 cheese: 16 non-Mexican style; 3 Mexican style queso fresco
o 1 powdered milk
• 2,824 total illnesses, 8 deaths
o 2,200 fluid milk-related illnesses (3 deaths)
o 588 cheese-related illnesses: 565 non-Mexican style (4 deaths), 23 Mexican style queso fresco (1 death)
o 36 powdered milk-related illnesses
Download Table (pdf file): pasteurized-dairy-outbreak-table.pdf
Foodborne disease outbreaks and recalls linked to raw milk from grassfed and pastured cows - Grassfed-Outbreaks.pdf
Herdshares linked to foodborne disease outbreaks and illnesses from raw milk -
Food Safety News
BY DAVID GUMPERT | MAY 31, 2013
Make no mistake, Vernon Hershberger won a huge victory in Saturday’s early morning hours in Baraboo, WI. “It’s a beautiful day,” Hershberger told me that morning, after a few hours of sleep following the 1 a.m. jury decision that acquitted him of three of four criminal misdemeanor charges. Yes, it was a beautiful day, for farming and for food rights.
The State threw everything it had at this humble father of ten children, and when it was over, its guys in the dark suits scampered out of the courtroom in the darkness of the night after a jury of twelve ordinary Americans handed them their heads on a platter. After less than four hours of consideration, those Americans told the hot-shot lawyers that their thousands of pages of legal documents and computer forensic experts and five days of arguing had failed miserably to convince a single one of them that Hershberger should be required to have any of three retail and dairy licenses insisted upon by the State.
Hershberger had already heard through the grapevine that the jurors didn’t give a moment’s thought to going with the state’s charges. “They tried their best to set me free,” he said.
The jurors convicted Hershberger only of something he publicly admitted to before and during the trial — that he had cut the regulators’ tape placed on his coolers and food shelves on June 2, 2010 so as to keep his food from rotting and to feed his 200 food club members — in other words, violated a holding order.
Continue reading, “Hershberger Victory Sends Message That People Can, and Will, Fight Overbearing Regulators” at Food Safety News.
Search the Foodborne Illness Database
Several families offered to share their stories on video to help raise awareness about the potential risks and negative effects on health from drinking contaminated raw milk.