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Raw Milk Update

SB 201 VETOED BY GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER Our fight for raw milk in CA continues...

Despite our hundreds of calls and letters and overwhelming bipartisan support of the Legislature, our bill was vetoed by the Governor. Politics were at play as the Governor ignored testimony from UC Davis and other scientific experts that HACCP (Hazard Analysis) plans and increased pathogen testing are a better way to regulate raw milk than coliform limits. Instead, the Governor succumbed to pressure from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and other parties who would like to regulate raw milk out of business.

To read the governor's veto statement, go to www.organicpastures.com/pdfs/sb201.pdf
Senator Florez's statement is posted below.
 
Senator Florez will continue this fight when the new legislative session begins in January. California's two raw milk dairies will press forward with their joint lawsuit against the CDFA's current standard while trying their best to continue operations under difficult conditions. (One dairy has already seen a significant increase in harassment by inspectors in the last
week.) They ask for your continued patience and support if there are disruptions in supply.

In california, the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has a conference call with the trial court, Judge Tobias, on November 13th to address going forward with the case. We anticipate conducting more discovery of the state's witnesses, obtaining more of the state's documents on testing data, and in enlisting the services of additional expert witnesses.  Since we have appealed the trial court's denial of the preliminary injunction, our appellate merit brief is due December 1st.  We continue to monitor the test data derived from the raw milk dairies in an effort to ensure compliance with AB 1735's 10 coliform standard.
 
As consumers, we can continue this fight to save our milk in California by doing the following:

1. Consider making a donation to the Farm-To-Consumer-Legal Defense Fund, which is providing legal representation to the two California dairies and is crucial to fighting the current standards in AB 1735 so we can still find the milk on store shelves. For more info and to donate go to www.farmtoconsumer.org.

2. Call your California lawmakers and tell them how you feel. They listened and responded to us by passing SB 201 out of the Legislature with only four no votes. We need them to be just as responsive when we take this up again in January. For contact information, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html.

 

3. Call the Governor's office and tell him how you feel. Tell him the CDFA is wrong and to read the testimony from the hearings or watch it here:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5FoFoFNeCk&feature=email

4. Continue telling your store managers how important raw milk is to you. We had strong vocal support from major raw milk retailers at our hearings and behind the scenes. If you are a Whole Foods customer, let them know you want them to keep fighting for us. Their political clout will continue to be critical going forward.

5. Write letters to editors, post on blogs, and tell your friends about the significant health benefits of raw milk. More enthusiastic consumers means more voices in our lawmakers ears.

Californians have made huge strides in leading the nationwide effort to assure raw milk safety and consumer choice! Let's be proud of our progress as we press forward in this campaign for nature's most perfect food!

STATEMENT BY SENATOR FLOREZ
The Governor's veto of SB 201 is disappointing but certainly not unexpected.
The Administration's concerted efforts to defeat SB 201 are nothing more than an attempt to cover up the fraud committed on the legislature through CDFA's sponsorship of AB 1735, which placed the wrong standards for raw milk into law. There is no question that AB 1735 was flawed. The legislature carried multiple pieces of legislation this year, including SB 201, to correct some of those flaws. The Governor signed another urgency measure that specifically fixed deficiencies in AB
1735 related to market milk (AB 2284 - Galgiani).

There is no question that raw milk and pasteurized milk are two distinct products. This Administration's attempt to use the same standard for both products defies logic and can be taken as an attempt to regulate California's two raw milk dairies out of business. The philosophy and science behind SB 201 is supported by food safety researchers from one of California's most respected Universities. These researchers agree that the regulatory structure of SB 201 would make raw milk in California safer than existing law.

It is unfortunate that the Governor continues to play politics with the issue of food safety. This merely serves to lower the food safety standards that Californians rely upon for their protection.

As Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Foodborne Illness, I am committed to pushing forward on the issue of food safety and look forward to putting forth legislation next year to move the ball forward on this important issue.

Thanks, Dean Florez

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