As we were not able to attend California Senator Dean Florez’ April 15, 2008 hearing on AB1735, the California Assembly Bill that threw such a monkey wrench into the sale of raw milk in California, I was glad to see that David Gumpert at TheCompletePatient.com did attend and has been covering the issues.
The hearings were conducted by Senator Florez and, as I previously covered in California State agency refuses to participate in hearings into AB 1735, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which was behind the AB1735 bill, declined to attend even after a direct request by Sen. Florez for their attendance. It is difficult to guess at this distance whether this was an attempt to avoid having to provide evidence for the whys and wherefores (and, indeed, the scientific validity) of AB1735, or simply to deny credibility to the hearings.
Yesterday, the day after the AB1735 hearings, Mr. Gumpert published his Sen. Florez’s Message to Raw Milk Community: There’s No Going Back, But Let’s Make a Deal — in which he indicated that Senator Florez’ intent seemed to be not to wipe away AB1735, but to institute fair, realistic and safe practices with regard to both raw milk and pasteurized milk. I’m all for that. While I’m rather constant raw milk consumer, I’m very much for safe practices with regard to any food. However, we have been unimpressed with AB1735’s required coliform limit in raw milk, as coliforms are simply bacteria, of which most are beneficial. Our stance has been that, if the intent of AB1735 was indeed to protect consumers from E. coli, why not test directly for E. coli and other pathogens — something a coliform cap does not and cannot do? In fact, all a coliform cap really does is make it nigh impossible for raw milk dairies to sell raw milk while enabling pasteurized milk providers to sell their "cooked" milk. And, in fact, if pasteurization of milk alone (so called "processed" milk) were enough to ensure cleanliness and healthiness of milk, then we would not have seen Two People Die After Drinking Listeria Tainted Milk In Massachusetts — and that was pasteurized milk.
No, one is almost forced to speculate that, since AB1735 does not in fact protect consumers, perhaps that was, indeed, the intent of AB1735. Unfortunately, the insistance in following incomplete science to the detriment of consumers and our farmers does not do it for me.
Mr. Gumpert followed up yesterday’s article with Sen. Florez Seeks to Quickly Capitalize on Hearing Momentum with New Legislation to Replace AB1735 in which he details the steps that Sen. Florez is taking to bring the two "sides" together while moving forward to greater protection for consumers. This is looking hopeful.
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