Urging Governor Doyle to veto the raw milk bill

A number of Wisconsin dairy, farm, veterinary and health groups have sent a letter to Governor Jim Doyle asking him to veto the raw milk bill. The groups cite instances of raw milk contaminations causing health problems across the country. The letter goes on to ask the Governor to wait for the Department of Agriculture’s Raw Milk Policy Working Group to “evaluate the issue and make informed, evidence-based recommendations.”

Among those signing the letter:

  • Cooperative Network Association
  • Dairy Business Association
  • Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards
  • Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
  • Wisconsin Dairy Products Association
  • Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation
  • Wisconsin Medical Society
  • Wisconsin Public Health Association
  • Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association

The letter was accompanied by supporting letters from Marshfield Clinic, Aurora Health Care and others including one signed by 40 Wisconsin dairy producers.

On Wednesday the Governor said he had still not made up his mind as to whether or not he would sign the bill legalizing the direct sale of unpasteurized milk from producers to consumers.

Here is the letter:


                                                                                                                       May 13, 2010


To:       Governor Jim Doyle

Re:       Urge the Veto of SB 434 – Legislation to Permit the Sale of Unpasteurized Raw Milk

On behalf of several thousand Wisconsin residents directly involved in animal agriculture and animal and human health, we strongly urge that you to veto SB 434, legislation to permit the sale of raw milk in Wisconsin.  This legislation is on the fast track due to support from hundreds of Wisconsin residents who believe the benefits of drinking raw milk outweigh the risks. They have been informed of the danger of raw milk consumption, but are willing to take the risk, particularly since their experience to-date is that the milk has been safe.

 The 18 people who recently became ill in Michigan after drinking tainted raw milk also likely believed the milk posed little or no risk after a prolonged period of “safe” use. Yet the Michigan case is only the latest in a string of at least 12 major foodbourne outbreaks in the United States between 2000 and 2008 that were linked to raw dairy products.  In 2001 alone, more than 300 people in the United States got sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk and nearly 200 became ill from these products in 2002.  Fortunately, the majority of the illnesses in the recent Michigan outbreak were the result of a type of bacterial infection that causes diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms and can be treated with antibiotics. Raw milk and raw milk products can be contaminated with bacteria that can cause serious illness, hospitalization, or death.

  • Of the cases of serious or fatal infections caused by raw milk, E. coli O157:H7 is among the most important because it can cause a life-threatening condition.  In a CDC report, numerous cases were traced to raw milk from a cow-share program in Cowlitz County, Washington in 2005.  After five children were hospitalized, a court order was issued to bring the farm into compliance.


  • In 2006, the California Department of Food and Agriculture temporarily quarantined milk and cream from Organic Pastures, California’s largest raw milk producer, after four children were stricken with E.coli O157:H7 bacterial illness. The department determined that the common link in all four cases “was consumption of raw milk.”

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) recently convened a Raw Milk Policy Working Group to consider whether there are legal and regulatory means that might allow dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized fluid raw milk directly to consumers, and if so, what conditions would be necessary to protect public health?  We strongly urge that the DATCP workgroup be given the opportunity to evaluate this issue and make informed, evidence-based recommendations.   Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.  For more information, contact WCMA Consultant, Shawn Pfaff at 608-258-8411.

  • My son became very sick three years ago drinking the raw milk and ended getting hospitalized for several days. It was traced to the raw milk he drank from our dairy and it was something he wasn’t used to. He ended up getting Guillan-Barre syndrome that was triggered by the campylobater bug that my son was diagnosed with. I want Governor Doyle to VETO this bill because I don’t want to have to worry about what this could do to our dairy industry if there was a big problem. Science proves that homogenization and pasteurization is what we need to do to milk in order to kill the bacteria.

  • Laurie Kyle, pasteurization is what you have to do to milk that is produced by cows who are not cared for and FED properly. Look at your own blog! You feed your cattle cookies and donuts. Why in your right mind would you let your child drink raw milk from a cow who is cared for, or rather, not cared for in that fashion? Additionally the JSONline article quoted that your child became ill from a virus. Campylobacter is a bacteria not a virus. Why is your story being presented as a reason raw milk is dangerous? The truth is being skewed, and your story is flawed. Shame on you for serving those that remove true health and liberty from the people. It’s written all over the jacket worn in the picture on your blog!

  • Of course Kyle’s son became sick when drinking raw milk from cows kept in confinement and fed dounuts and everything else except grass. Raw milk from cows on pasture is one of the most healing foods on the this planet. It has cured me from blood sugar problems and has been the only thing that has cleared my eczema and post nasel drip. Both my daughter (age 3 yrs) and my immune system have strengthened tremendously since drinking raw milk from pastured cows. She never even gets a light cold anymore (and neither do I). My PMS symptoms have also cleared (cold sores, blemishes, moodiness)! My skin also looks amazing, better than it did when I was getting facials and spending money on expensive skin care products. And of course my diahgter’s skin just glows. I am amazed at the power of raw milk. Raw milk from small farmed PASTURED cows is everyone’s human right.

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