Peggy Armstrong, IDFA, 202-220-3508
Christopher Galen, NMPF, 703-243-6111
(Arlington, Va. - May 19, 2010) National dairy organizations thanked Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle today for vetoing a state bill that would have allowed raw milk sales direct to consumers in that state, saying that his action "demonstrates a commitment to health and safety," according to the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association.
Doyle's office announced Wednesday that, because of public health concerns, he was vetoing state senate bill 434. That decision comes a week after NMPF and IDFA issued a statement expressing concern that, absent Doyle's veto, Wisconsin would join other states in allowing further distribution of raw milk, a product which "remains a demonstrable threat to people of all ages in every state," the groups said today.
Federal law prohibits the interstate sale of raw milk, but allows states individual discretion to regulate raw milk sales within their borders. Several states in recent years have loosened restrictions on the sales and marketing of raw milk, even as the product has been repeatedly linked to serious illnesses from coast to coast.
"Many other state dairy organizations in Wisconsin, along with the health professional community, made a major effort in the past week to provide some badly needed perspective on the potentially deadly consequences if the state were to have passed this bill," said Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF. "On behalf of the national dairy producer sector, we appreciate the statement that Gov. Doyle is making by vetoing this bill."
Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA, said that Doyle's decision "should serve as an example for other elected officials that what may be politically expedient and popular in some corners is not always in the ultimate best interest of consumers."
Tipton noted that while raw milk represents less than 1 percent of fluid milk consumption, it causes over 70 percent of the food-borne illness outbreaks in dairy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, before pasteurization was widely instituted in the 1920s, disease outbreaks from raw milk were the No. 1 food safety concern in the country.
Both Tipton and Kozak said their organizations would continue to work at the federal level to address the public health concerns surrounding raw milk sales.
# # #
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF's 30 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 40,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, DC, represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org.