Mark Zinniker is a well-known raw milk producer whose farm was in the news a few months ago over regulatory issues. Here’s an excerpt from the story in “Agri-View — the number one ag newspaper in Wisconsin“:
“A raw milk working group will consider the legal and regulatory perspectives of the sale of unpasteurized milk directly to consumers. It will also consider what conditions would be required to protect public health. “In recent months, raw milk sales have been an increasingly contentious issue in Wisconsin and other states,” says Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen. “There is a clear demand among some consumers and a clear desire on the part of some producers to open this market.
But we also have a clear duty in the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection to protect public health, and the reputation of our vital dairy industry. My goal in appointing this group is to recognize the many and varied interests within the milk production, manufacturing, and distribution system.”
Richard Barrows, an agricultural economist and retired associate dean at UW-Madison, will chair the group. The committee also includes: large, mid-sized and small dairy farmers, organic and conventional; large and small cheesemakers and dairy processors; dairy veterinarians; consumers; and food safety and public health professionals.
Nilsestuen charged the group with conducting an open-minded review and discussion to decide whether raw milk sales should be allowed in Wisconsin, and if so, under what conditions. The Legislature will be advised of the committee’s recommendation. The group is expected to meet for the first time in the second half of February.
The group will review the department’s statutory mission; examine laws regulating dairy farms, milk and other dairy products, retail food sales, dairy product labeling, and the prohibition on selling raw milk to consumers; examine the system of enforcing dairy regulations and consider public health needs; evaluate other states’ raw milk regulations, analyze ways Wisconsin might allow sales of raw milk; and offer policy, program and regulatory recommendations.
“We need farms of all sizes and shapes in Wisconsin. I strongly support opportunities for dairy producers to diversify and increase their income, and I strongly support consumer freedom of choice n but they must be informed consumers, and they must be informed producers,” Nilsestuen says….”
Earlier stories about raw milk at Mark’s farm on the Bovine: