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Update – AB1735 & AB1604

AFTER AB 1604: Where Raw Milk stands right now.

Hearings made for grand theater,
but here's what played out behind the scenes...

January 25, 2008

Nicole Parra Introduces Assembly Bill 1604

Nicole Parra has withdrawn AB 1604 from the legislative process after receiving heat from many different sources and losing some support from her own Ag Committee. Most of the opposition came from Big Dairy and Food Safety Interests. Because AB 1735, with its baseles coliform standard, is now the law of the land, it was impossible for many to view AB 1604 in a positive light, as it seemed to reverse food safety standards.

Unprecendented Support Caught Sacto by Surprise
The AB 1604 process was so fast and support from CA raw milk consumers so strong that AB 1604 became a public scramble to repair an injustice. (Seldom do 700 supporters show up with just three days' notice. Never have healthy kids, moms, and doctors lined up at a hearing microphone to tearfully beg for a food product.) In the interest of building understanding about raw milk, Ms. Parra has created a special Raw Milk Study Committee to research raw milk and give concrete recommendations on appropriate bacterial standards.

Clearing the Air about Coliforms
Before AB 1604, little attention was paid to raw milk, and coliforms were a mystery to California regulators and lawmakers. Even though AB 1604's "less than 50" coliform rule has been used effectively in Connecticut for many years, it is seen as an arbitrary limit by many in California. This new committee will include pro-raw milk scientists and Medical Doctors, PhD researchers, veterinarians, raw milk retailers, consumers and producers. Representatives from CDFA will also be included.

All stake holders will be represented and the coliform recommendations will be fully defendable.

Claravale and OPDC support this research and study process
This study group will allow raw milk to be brought forward into the normal channels of discussion; finally the facts will be known. It could very well bring forth additional recommendations and protections for raw milk that current law does not provide.

Count your blessings for our raw milk champion, Nicole Parra
This Wednesday, Assemblywoman Nicole Parra chaired an important conference call on this matter. Her opening comment to more than 10 people was that she loved the raw milk OPDC had given her last week. She has severe lactose intolerance, yet found this milk tasted wonderful and caused no problems! She wanted everyone to know that she supports consumer choice and has dedicated herself to making sure that raw milk standards are right and consumers choices are protected.

She will introduce a new raw milk bill when the committee has made its recommendations. Hearings will then be held, and we will show like never before!

In the mean time, raw milk will continue to flow without interruption. Stay tuned for more as the committee is selected and the recommendations are studied.

Thank you all for the incredible passionate support given by raw milk consumers. After January 16, 2008 Sacramento's view of raw milk, its consumers, and the political process will never be the same. You have changed things for the better.

Warmly,

Mark McAfee, Founder OPDC