Starting next week, South Dakota will begin enforcing new rules for the production, testing and labeling of raw milk sold in the state for human consumption. In June, IDFA wrote a letter opposing the regulations because product testing is not an adequate substitute for pasteurization and does not offer the same level of safety.
Effective December 11, the rules will set a maximum level for coliform of 10 per milliliter in raw milk and will require the milk label to state that the product is not pasteurized and include the date it was bottled. They also require only monthly testing for pathogens before the unpasteurized milk can be sold to consumers.
The new rules were passed by the South Dakota Legislature’s Rules Review Committee and the State Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch earlier this year,
Wisconsin Considers New Action
A Wisconsin State Senate committee has approved a bill that would make raw milk sales legal in the state. The Senate Financial Institutions and Rural Issues Committee passed the bill by a vote of 3-2 on November 13.
The bill, S.B. 236, would require raw milk dairies to register with the state, post warning signs about the dangers of raw milk consumption, and periodically test for pathogens before on-farm sales would be allowed. The full Senate will not act on the bill until members return from recess after January 1, 2014.
According to a report by Wisconsin Ag Connection, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spoke yesterday about the bill to members of the state’s Dairy Business Association. "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,” Walker said. “I'm not going to do anything that puts at risk any child who consumes products that come out of the state of Wisconsin."
IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation sent a joint letter earlier this fall in opposition to the bill. The two organizations made a similar plea against liberalizing raw milk sales in 2010, when former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle was presented with a bill that he ultimately vetoed.
Members with questions about state legislation regarding raw milk may contact Kyle Shreve, IDFA manager of legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3533.