Daily Archives: October 2, 2008

More on the California raw milk saga

Here’s some more background on the events leading up to Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto of the latest raw milk standards bill passed by the California State Senate —  from The Ethicurian blog:

California Raw Milk Bill — Skimmed? by Amanda Rose

Organic Pastures' milk

Organic Pastures legal raw milk

August 2008:California’s ongoing drama about permitting raw (unpasteurized) milk to be sold in stores has turned sour once again this week.

Just when it looked like proposed legislation palatable to the raw dairy industry — that would allow those that implemented a more holistic food-safety program to opt out of draconian bacterial counts — would flow smoothly through the legislature, some new twists threaten to shut off the tap once again.

Practice round

Here’s the back story. Since October, California raw milk advocates have been engaged in legislative battle over new sanitation requirements for raw dairies. Legislation was enacted in September of 2007 that required raw dairies to meet a much more strict sanitation requirement, based on a bacterial count that was so strict that California raw dairies question whether the new standards can be met. The raw milk community passed the hat to hire a law firm to challenge the bill and a lobbyist to try to get the legislation overturned. The legislative battle has been a surprisingly smooth one for a movement with anti-government tendencies, up until this week. Continue reading

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The legislative “sleight-of-hand” that led to the existing “new normal” in California raw milk standards

“Raw milk producers and consumers weren’t told about the change until after the new law passed quietly earlier this year [2007].”

These are excerpts from a story on Aftermath News, by Michelle Locke titled “Raw milk fans oppose new California dairy standards” (This story is dated December 2007):

BERKELEY, Calif.—Raw milk consumers oppose new dairy standards set to take effect next month in California that they say could outlaw some of their preferred products.

Continue reading

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Governor Schwarzenegger “terminates” new California raw milk standards bill

The Governor

The Governor

From the Bakersfield Californian in a story dated yesterday (Oct. 1, 2008) we learn that the California Governor has vetoed a bill that would have set special standards for raw milk. Presumably, the bill must have been passed by the California legislative assembly or vetoing wouldn’t be necessary. The bill’s author is quoted in the article as saying that the defeat of his legislation dooms Californians’ access to raw milk. Bad news indeed.

Correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding of the California situation is that legislation was quietly passed there in late 2007 to change the rules on raw milk (see post above), requiring it to meet the same bacterial levels on store shelves as pasteurized milk had to meet while it was still in the processing plant. I seem to recall there was a large public outcry against this legislative affront, which was followed by extensive public consultation (see post below), the results of which were to be incorporated into new standards, which would have been embodied in this bill which was recently vetoed by the Governor. Clarification from readers on this background would be welcome. Anyway here’s an excerpt from the news story (dated Oct. 1, 2008):

“The governor has vetoed a bill by state Sen. Dean Florez that would have created alternative requirements for dairy farms that produce and process raw milk for sale.

Florez, D-Shafter, said in a news release the bill addressed “misguided regulations” to hold raw milk to the same bacteria standards as pasteurized milk without acknowledging the healthy bacteria in nonpasteurized milk.

He said the rules “doomed” Californians’ access to raw milk. Continue reading

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What’s being vetoed: California raw milk Senate hearings from Apr 15

As background to the news of the California Governor vetoing new raw milk standards for California, here’s an extensive report on Senate hearings from April 15, 2008, explaining what the new standards are about and detailing some of the consumer and academic input that went into formulating them. This material is from the organic pastures website. This piece was titled Farm Fresh Milk — Assuring Safety and Consumer Choice”:

California to Lead in Raw Milk Safety Program

Claravale Dairy and OPDC are pleased to report that Senator Dean Florez gave a command performance April 15th during a landmark, six hour hearing on the future of California raw milk. In spite of a two hour delay, several hundred raw milk consumers attended. Many stayed until after 11 PM to testify and hear the closing remarks.

The hearing was well organized and panels of witnesses were thoughtfully interviewed by Senators Florez and Vincent on all matters related to the CA raw milk issue.

Opening statements focused on creating a bright new future for California raw milk, establishing California as a national role model, and taking the leadership position on behalf of raw milk producers everywhere. Senator Florez set a high benchmark by pronouncing this work to be a foundation for raw milk safety worldwide.

Senator Florez strongly reprimanded the CDFA for refusing to participate in the hearings, calling their absence “a disrespectful affront to legislative oversight.” Continue reading

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Organic Pastures’ Mark MacAfee speaks

And while we’re thinking about raw milk standards in California, why don’t we listen to Head Honcho (Mark MacAfee) of America’s leading raw dairy farm (Organic Pastures) share his perspectives on organic farming, raw milk safety and the science of milk nutrition. Note that this is from a while ago, so what we see here is not specifically responding here to the latest raw milk legislative development in California, that being Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto of new raw milk standards legislation.

Of course Organic Pastures is not the only raw dairy in California; here’s another one: Claravale Farms.

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