The 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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