After reading the DMN raw milk article run in yesterdayüfs paper, I have concluded that it is about as fair as anyone could expect out of a supposedly objective news report. Both sides of the issue are covered. It is true that FDA is conducting a smear campaign against raw milk across the country claiming that it is not safe to drink. It is true that the Dairymanüfs Association is not supporting the bill with its current content. We are working with them as recently as yesterday at the Capitol to try and find something that is acceptable to them and the raw milk producers/activists/consumers. The bill has not even been through the committee process in either the House or the Senate. There is still a lot of work to do trying to find common ground with the Department of Health Services and the Dairymanüfs Association. Everyone involved wants the issues to be worked out so that it doesnüft become simply a battle of who can get the most votes. I think we can get there.
One thing raw milk consumers and food freedom activists can do right now is contact their state representative and encourage him/her to sign on as co-sponsor of HB 75. The bill was filed by Rep. Dan Flynn, my state rep. AND, contact their state senator and encourage him/her to sign on to co-sponsor SB 237. The bill was filed by Dr. Bob Deuell, my state senator, the only medical doctor in the state senate. If the state rep and state senator will not sign on as a co-sponsor, we want them to commit to support and vote for the bill. Rep. Flynn told me that he has been ügblown awayüh by the bi-partisan support for this bill. He said Republicans and Democrats alike have contacted him and expressed an interest in supporting the bill. We need to push it over the top with more phone calls and emails.
If a person doesnüft know who represents them, they can go to http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us
or call the Texas Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630
People should be encouraged to sign up for email alerts and get more info at http://www.TexasRealMilk.org
We appreciate any visibility you can give the issue on your facebook page or program. Judith McGeary, executive director of FARFA, is the leader of the effort to amend the current language so everyone involved at least says they are neutral, not opposed, to the bill.
For your info, here are some notes on the raw milk bill that does a good job of summarizing the background, and advantages of passing the bill.Raw Milk Talking Points: Support HB 75/ SB 237
HB 75/SB 237 would legalize the sale of raw dairy products by licensed farmers directly to consumers at farmers markets and farm stands, and allow farmers and consumers to agree to delivery arrangements.
House authors: Representatives Flynn, Rodriguez, Simpson, Bonnen, and Laubenberg
Senate sponsor: Senator DeuellBackground
˝▒ Licensed farmers can sell raw milk in Texas directly to consumers. See Health Code, Chapter 435.
˝▒ Regulations limit the sales to ügthe point of production, i.e., at the farm.üh The Department of State Health Servicesüf staff has interpreted the regulation to require that each customer drive to the farm each and every time the customer wishes to purchase milk.
˝▒ This marketing restriction burdens both farmers and consumers. Farmers who invest significant time and money to become licensed face unfair limitations. Consumers who wish to obtain unprocessed food must expend significant time, gas, and money on long weekly drives.
˝▒ The regulation provides no health or safety benefits.
˝▒ Texas raw milk farmers have an excellent safety record. CDC data from 1998-2008 show that there have been only two reported illnesses attributed to raw milk in Texas during that time. Neither illness involved hospitalization.
˝▒ In contrast, over 12,000 food borne illnesses were reported in Texas in that same time period (not including multi-state outbreaks), traced to such foods as strawberries, mangos, ice cream, cake, beans, lettuce salads, salsa, cheeses, pot pie, chicken salad, hot dogs, deli meats, and beef brisket. Any food carries some risk of food borne illness, but Texas licensed raw milk farmers take extensive precautions to ensure the safety and quality of their product. Support HB 75/ SB 237
˝▒ The bill does only one thing: it removes the unnecessary marketing barrier to the sale of Grade A raw dairy products.
˝▒ The bill makes no other change to the existing regulatory requirements for raw dairy that have been successful in protecting the publicüfs health in Texas.
˝▒ Sales will continue to be limited to direct-to-consumer transactions, as they are currently. The bill will not allow sales of raw milk in grocery stores.
˝▒ Improves the safety of raw dairy by allowing producers to transport it to consumers under safe conditions
˝▒ By allowing a producer to make a single trip to serve multiple customers, rather than having each customer drive to the farm, the bill reduces vehicle miles, benefiting air quality, traffic congestion, and public safety
˝▒ Addresses the needs of elderly, disabled, and low-income consumers who wish to purchase raw dairy products and who have difficulty, or who are unable, to drive to distant farms
˝▒ Benefits rural economies because direct farm-to-consumer sales of raw milk can mean the difference between a net loss on the farm and a reasonable income for the farm family.
Thank you for your attention,
Robert and Nancy Hutchins, Elizabeth, Mark, Samuel, Stephen, Katherine, Caleb, Ruth and Abigail