Raw milk outlawed in CaliforniaThe California State government recently passed AB 1735 — which will go into effect on January 1, 2008 — an amendment to the food law that could put organic milk dairies in California out of business by way of making an issue of a mostly beneficial family of bacteria found in milk called coliform.

Introduced March 15, 2007 and signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on October 8, 2007, the amendment adds to the food law:

SEC. 2. Section 35781 of the Food and Agricultural Code is amended to read:

35781. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this article, market milk shall not contain any of the following:

(1) More than 15,000 bacteria per milliliter or more than 10 coliform bacteria per milliliter if to be sold as raw milk to the consumer.

(Organic Pastures) The Organic Pastures article goes on to say, "A 2004 Journal of Dairy Science article measured coliform levels in bulk tank milk and found that 80% of raw milk samples exceeded a coliform count of 10 per milliliter."

However, it also says that all coliform bacteria are not pathogenic:

Many Coliform Strains are Beneficial
Strains of coliform bacteria crowd out pathogenic bacteria (competitive exclusion).
Pathogens can be anywhere. Researchers continue to find that one strategy in fighting pathogens is other bacteria

And it adds that pathogens can be tested for independently to ensure that this kind of bacteria is NOT in the raw milk. But the law doesn’t cover this less damaging scenario.

Instead, the revised law appears to outlaw the GOOD bacteria in the milk while at the same time failing to test for pathogenic (can cause disease) bacteria. Meaning that we can’t get organic raw milk in California after January 1, 2008 — but we are free, of course, to purchase processed milk (homogenized, pasteurized) which could also contain pathogenic coliform bacteria. The problem with this is that pasteurization doesn’t guarantee the complete eradication of disease-causing bacteria.

All bacteria are NOT bad for us. To me, it is obvious why this law was pushed through. And why hadn’t we heard of this amendment until now?

All the times I’ve had food poisoning have been from processed foods. NOT organic food, which includes organic raw milk.

At any rate, Organic Pastures asks that we contact California lawmakers to make ourselves heard:

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4 Comments for "Healthy raw milk outlawed in California"

  1. Diane Vigil

    This is an unhappy occurrence. It also looks more than a bit strange, given that it appears to have been passed based on bad science — or, at least, selectively-viewed science.

    What that means is that, come January 1, we have a choice between no raw milk and pasteurized milk — milk all the nutrients cooked out, including those enzymes needed to digest the calcium. To me, that means no milk.

    It would appear that our legislators need a bit of education.

  2. George Vigil

    Exactly! It was a rather fast push though the California legislature. Part of their reason appears to be two e-coli illnesses caused by raw milk. One in California and one in Washington State. This is very sparse. Shouldn’t someone compare the number of food poisonings from processed milk in California and (okay lets make Washington State our business too, just like the legislators of California) Washington State? And if there are any e-coli poisonings or other poisonings, say one per state, perhaps the legislators should outlaw pasteurized milk entirely as an unsafe food? A danger to society! A food that causes bad health, bad teeth, bad arteries and heart! Hmm!

  3. Diane Vigil

    Right. Here’s a discussion going on in the Organic Consumer Association forums about outlawing California raw milk. Apparently New York raw milk producers are also having a hard time. And Indiana.

    Here’s a discussion at HomesteadingToday.com which is pretty shocking (bolding added for emphasis):

    Kind of a sad day- NYS is making more rules and stricter guide line for all of us selling raw milk. After having e-coli show up in my milk twice then the recall and second samples come back fine – I am sick of it all. I decided to let go of my raw cow milk permit …

  4. Deadline 2008: raw milk under threat in California

    […] Healthy raw milk outlawed in California […]

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