Thursday, May 5, 2011

Update on Raw Milk, Cottage Foods Hearing

They heard, but did they listen?

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance reports on the April 20 hearing on relaxing state regulations on the sale of raw milk and making and marketing of cottage foods.
We had a great line-up of witnesses in support of HB 75, the raw milk bill, including Dr. Mary Traverse, Dr. Mark Shannon, Bob Stryk, Ramy Jisha, Shorty and Rhianna Miller, Tom Hensleee, Susan Simpson, Paul Norris, Christina Peteet, Michelle Ellis, Nancy Falster, and Judith McGeary. The witnesses discussed the low risk associated with raw milk from licensed dairies, the many illnesses linked to pasteurized milk, the range of nutrition and health benefits provided by raw milk, the difference between large conventional dairies and small direct-to-consumer raw dairies, the economics of the dairy industry, and more.

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) sent two witnesses. Under state law, an agency must be neutral on bills pending before the Legislature, but DSHS’s witnesses made it plain that they view raw milk as dangerous. Two local health departments (City of Garland and Harris County) also sent witnesses to oppose the bill. One of the witnesses made the completely unsupported claim that if the bill is passed, we’ll see more illnesses. To the contrary, FARFA provided data from the CDC showing that there is no pattern of increasing consumption of raw milk leading to increasing rates of food-borne illness.

I've submitted a petition to the Texas Health and Human Services Department, so the proceedings are unsurprising to me.

The public brings knowledge, passion and conviction. The state brings a bias toward business as usual, emphasis on business. You simply cannot put too much pressure on the state legislature to support these bills.
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