Goodbye Raw Milk in CaliforniaGreat news: according to a March 20, 2008 press release from The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, California Superior Court Judge Harry J. Tobias "granted a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of AB 1735". Although the FTCLDF requires a login to read the full text of the press release, it’s been posted at the Organic Consumers Association Forums. I’ll quote just a bit:

Described as a “stealth attack” against raw milk, AB 1735 calls for a strict coliform limit of 10 per ml or under in bottled raw milk. In court papers filed on March 6, Organic Pastures Dairy Company and Claravale Farms argued that raw milk from their dairies has a superlative safety record in California and that the new coliform limit would effectively put them out of business. Coliforms are beneficial bacteria found in raw milk. …

In addition, Fund lawyers noted the lack of evidence that any pathogens causing human illness have been found in any of the dairies’ products.

“The Judge’s ruling is consistent with the evidence and the law of the case,” said Fund attorney Gary Cox. “We had provided evidence that our members would both go out of business should AB 1735 be enforced, and that there was no scientific or reasonable basis for using coliforms as the standard for safety and health,” Cox further added.

Good news indeed. I’m not so happy that the dairies and donors have to pay for a lawsuit to attempt to bring this attack on raw milk to a fair conclusion, but very happy to hear that the case will be heard in the Courts, rather than decided unilaterally behind closed doors by an agency that, so far as I can tell, did not want to hear beneficial evidence. What this case needs is fresh air and sunlight.

Here’s some of our earlier coverage: Raw Milk under Threat in California.

ADDED: Here’s some detail at The Complete Patient:

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2 Comments for "California Raw Milk – Temporary Restraining Order against AB1735"

  1. Lynn Cameron

    This is hopeful news for farm-fresh milk in the marketplace, as in “for both producers and consumers” – strangely similar to free-market economy principles. Good going, WWOF, for staying on top of this story so we might know of it right away.

  2. Diane Vigil

    Thanks, Lynn. We aren’t out of the woods yet, though. The judge issued the temporary restraining order based on the argument that "the two dairies would both be irreparably harmed if the coliform standard imposed by AB 1735 continued to remain in effect, noting that existing testing data proves the dairies cannot meet the standard." That’s why it’s temporary.

    What I’m pleased about is that an outside party — the Court — will be hearing the issues, rather than the same-old-same-old parties who have so given raw milk (and Californians who drink it) a hard time.

    Light of day, light of day.

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