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News for May 20, 2010

Wis. governor vetoes bill allowing raw milk sales

Raw milk sales won't be allowed in "America's Dairyland."

Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed limited sales of raw milk in Wisconsin, saying he was protecting citizens' health and safety. He also expressed concerns about how a possible outbreak of disease from drinking the unpasteurized milk could affect the state's $26 billion dairy industry.

READ MORE (Businessweek) ]

Author hopes to inspire readers about sustainable food

Temra Costa's life changed in 1998 when she walked into a food co-op in Madison, Wis. She wasn't used to the place's variety of food, organic products or featured local farmers.

She went on to earn a degree in agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, moved to California and led the state's campaign to get people to buy fresh, local food.

READ MORE (Agri News) ]

Crop mobs sprout up on farms

The mob descended on Chris Wimmer's farm on a rainy Saturday bearing pitchforks and shovels. They went to work quickly, relocating a compost pile, digging weeds and hauling fencing.

The Jefferson County Crop Mob, a group of mostly urban volunteers, spends one Saturday a month sweating for small-scale farmers such as Wimmer. In return, they learn about the food they consume and tips about organic and sustainable farming.

READ MORE (USA Today) ]

Sen. Kreitlow comments on raw milk veto

The Governor's veto is disappointing to the thousands of farmers and consumers who will continue to be treated like criminals for wanting nothing more than to buy or sell fresh milk off the farm. We introduced this bill because family farmers simply asked for the right to sell their products directly to consumers, a right almost every other business has. They agreed to regulation, they agreed to aggressive testing of their product, and they even agreed to a provision that would force them to fight this all over again in a year. These families, the backbone of Wisconsin agriculture, deserve better.

Unfortunately, in politics, fear and hype will occasionally trump reality and fairness. The reality is that it would be better to set guidelines for private transactions that are going to continue regardless of today's veto. The fairness to family farmers is lost because of today's veto, and that is why I call on DATCP to suspend its efforts to treat farmers as criminals when they try to meet the demands of consumers for their products on the farm.

READ MORE (WQOW) ]

Governor vetoes raw milk

Citing concerns about the dangers to public health and potential damage it could do to the dairy industry, Governor Jim Doyle on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have allowed dairy farmers to sell raw milk.

The legislation legalizing the sale of unpasteurized dairy products has been the subject of a great deal of controversy in recent weeks, after the Governor Doyle appeared to be wavering in his initial support of the bill.

READ MORE (Wisconsin Radio Network) ]

Wis. governor bars most raw milk sales in 'America's Dairyland,' cites health concerns

If you're looking to buy raw milk, don't rely on "America's Dairyland."

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed limited sales of raw milk, saying he wanted to protect citizens' health. He also was concerned about how a possible outbreak of illnesses from drinking unpasteurized milk could affect Wisconsin's $26 billion dairy industry.

READ MORE (Washington Examiner) ]

FDA May Disclose More Details on Drug, Food Safety

The nation's top drug regulator proposed Wednesday to disclose more information about safety problems with the drugs and devices it rejects.

The effort is part of a broader plan to remake the public image of the Food and Drug Administration, which has come under fire for being too secretive.

READ MORE (ABC) ]

Illicit, but not illegal

By now, you've probably heard everything you want to know about raw milk. You know about the FDA's warnings of possible campylobacter, salmonella and E. coli in the unpasteurized, unhomogenized, straight-from-the-udder stuff. And you're either dying to try it because you've adopted the natural-food lifestyle . . . or you want to stay as far away as you can.

But what all the (bad) press surrounding raw milk has failed to convey is that snagging a jar is in fact easier than scoring last week's dime bag. And more legal. That's because we're lucky enough to live in one of 29 states in which sales of raw milk for human consumption aren't illegal. Not completely, anyway. Getting your hands on a jug of it will take a little more effort than visiting the coolers at Jewel, but not much.

READ MORE (Time Out Chicago) ]

Study: Harmful additives found in canned food

Environmental health advocates in Maine released a new national study earlier this week showing that canned foods and beverages absorb potentially dangerous amounts of bisphenol A, or BPA, from the cans' epoxy lining.

Ingestion of BPA by infants, children and pregnant women has been linked to problems such as abnormal brain development, behavioral problems, premature onset of puberty and reproductive disorders, although the amount of exposure needed to cause such damage has not been fully determined.

READ MORE (Bangor Daily news) ]

More food safety publicity stunts

Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) debuted its brand new, 40-foot-long Food Safety Discovery Zone, a food safety educational center on wheels that will travel across the country to teach kids about proper food handling. "The Discovery Zone... will take critical food safety messages directly to the public, in the places where they live, work, play, shop and go to school," said Craig Stoltz, FSIS' Web service director said on the USDA blog Thursday. "That outreach is an important aspect of this Administration's and the President's Food Safety Working Group's efforts to reduce the burden of foodborne illness nationwide."

According to the agency, "The Discovery Zone's mission doesn't stop with education: It's a deployable mobile asset in times of natural disasters, as it can quickly travel to affected areas to help ensure food supplies are safe."

READ MORE (Meat Trade News) ]

Team Diarrhea: A model for food detectives around the country

After Minnesota played a huge role in solving two of the nation's major salmonella outbreaks, some federal lawmakers want to duplicate the state's approach to handing food-borne illnesses.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is co-sponsoring legislation that would create four or five centers of excellence around the country to investigate suspected food safety problems, like salmonella and E. coli.

READ MORE (KARE) ]

Wisconsin governor vetoes raw milk bill

In a blow to raw milk advocates, Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle today vetoed a bill that would have allowed less restrictive sales of the unpasteurized product in "America's Dairyland." It is still legal for "incidental sales" in the state.

Many had expected the governor to sign the bill until last week when members of National Milk Producers Federation, the International Dairy Foods Association, cheesemakers and some medical representatives urged him to reconsider.

READ MORE (Chicago Tribune) ]

Standing by Raw Milk : An Edible Minute

Got Milk? Maybe you do. But how about this: Got raw milk?

While the USDA opposes the sale of raw milk - they'd prefer you drink pasteurized - raw milk - straight from the cow, filtered and chilled - is making a comeback. It's now sold in 28 states. Don't bother looking for it at the store though.

READ MORE (NHPR) ]

Organic Consumers Association Takes On the Raw Milk Issue

Raw milk enthusiasts, dairy farmers, and a cow gathered at Boston Common on Monday, May 10 for a "Raw Milk Drink-In" at the State House for a press conference in advance of a 10 am hearing at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR).

The raw milk rally was organized to address MDAR attempts to restrict the delivery of raw milk to thousands of consumers throughout Massachusetts. Earlier this year, the MDAR issued a cease and desist order to four raw milk buying club drivers who were delivering the milk to customers to urban and suburban areas of the state.

READ MORE (OCA) ]

Pasteurization Without Representation

Raw milk is one of those issues that riles people (and inspires puns, "raw deal," "raw nerves" and the like). This week Massachusetts farmers and fans of raw milk were sufficiently agitated to bring a cow to Boston Common, in view of the State House, to demonstrate their anger at state laws banning the sale of raw milk anywhere but directly from farms certified to sell it.

That Massachusetts allows the sale of raw milk at all makes it unusual - only 28 states do, and laws addressing how and where it can be sold vary by state. The reason: raw milk can be deadly, and can cause severe illness with what Barry Estabrook, in a post defending raw milk, recently called a "rogue's gallery of bugs" (and he named quite a number). The Centers for Disease Control says that even if only 1 to 3 percent of the U.S. population consumes raw milk or raw milk products, 68 percent of disease outbreaks related to dairy products involve raw milk or raw milk products. Here's a FAQ page from the CDC with claims that would make raw-milk proponents mad: for instance, that there's no evidence that drinking raw milk can protect against illnesses like asthma and allergies, nor evidence that raw milk is any more nutritious than pasteurized milk.

READ MORE (The Atlantic) ]

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