SB 201: Fresh Milk Act of 2008 - The Details
Senator Dean Florez said it best when he held hearings on Farm Fresh Milk in April of this year. He said we want "World Class Raw Milk for California." SB 201, sponsored by Senator Florez, Senator Perata and Assembly member Berryhill accomplishes just that.
SB 201 starts its abbreviated journey through the legislative process this week. With six hours of Senate hearings and testimony from experts from around the world, the Senate record on raw milk is strong. Because of the tremendous amount of work by Senator Dean Florez, Senator Don Perata, Assemblyman Mike Villines, Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, Assemblyman Tom Berryhill, Whole Foods President Walter Robb, Sally Fallon, Dr. Ron Hull, Dr. Ted Beals and many others, this world class Raw Milk bill has gathered broad political support.
SB 201 pioneers standards and regulatory protections that are the first in the nation, are holistic in addressing every critical process in the dairy, and provide greater protections for consumers than the standards currently in law. It promotes consumer choice in California by keeping raw milk available on store shelves, while at the same time increasing food safety protections to ensure that the raw milk sold in California is the safest in the nation.
For the first time in the United States, SB 201 mandates a HACCP (food safety) plan at California's raw milk dairies. This type of individualized food safety plan is presently utilized by food processors in other industries in California, and was deemed to be the best alternative to promote raw milk food safety by scientists at our recent hearing.
SB 201 provides for at least eight times more testing for E. Coli 0157:H7, standard plate count, and coliforms as each raw milk dairy is required to provide an independent lab product samples at least twice per week. There is presently no such requirement in California law. In the past, CDFA has performed simple tests that were used as indicators that harmful pathogens may be present. SB 201 instead requires the CDFA to test directly for the pathogens that cause illness in humans at least once per month. CDFA may take raw milk samples from any location deemed appropriate. Testing directly for pathogens provides a more accurate picture of what is contained in the final product.
Finally, this bill prohibits raw milk dairies from receiving milk from other dairies that do not meet these stringent requirements.
These innovative food safety measures, when taken in their entirety, provide multiple layers of protection to our consumers, ensuring that California continues to be the leader in raw milk food safety.