Say what you will about raw milk, and there are naysayers — especially emanating from the smear-and-fear propagandists who work in the Food and Drug Administration — but Senator Dean Florez is spearheading a California State Bill 201 which will bring sanity into the safe production and selling of raw milk in California.

This follows the hubbub raised after the California Department of Food and Agriculture snuck through a middle-of-the-night unnannounced AB 1735, which required an arbitrary but low limit to the number of coliform bacteria (many of which are non-harmful/beneficial) in raw milk but no pathogen testing, then the passing of AB 1604 by the California Agriculture Committee the retraction of the blocking, followed by the April 15, 2008 joint hearing by California Senators Dean Florez and Abel Maldonado AB 1735 — to which the CDFA were invited but which the CDFA famously refused to attend.

Taken from Organic Pastures’ recent newsletter, Senate Bill #201 Comes to Life:

SB 201 pioneers standards and regulatory protections that:

  • are the first in the nation.
  • are holistic in addressing every critical process in the dairy.
  • provide greater protections for consumers than the standards currently in law.
  • promote consumer choice in California by keeping raw milk available on store shelves.
  • increase food safety protections to ensure that the raw milk sold in California is the safest in the nation.

And, further, under SB 201:

  • Raw milk must be tested for pathogens eight times more often.
  • Each raw milk dairy must provide independent lab samples twice per week.
  • CDFA must test directly for the pathogens that cause illness in humans at least once per month.
  • CDFA may take raw milk samples from any location.
  • Raw milk dairies may not receive milk from non-raw milk dairies; the protections put into place by SB 201 cannot be circumvented by receiving milk from a dairy not subject to these stringent requirements.

And reading a synopsis of the actions to be implemented, we — the consuming public who enjoy our organic raw milk — greatly appreciate Senator Florez and Senator Perata as well as California State Assembly persons Berryhill and Parra for their good efforts at democracy. In fact, hearing about their actions is quite a relief! They are bringing into existence a law that applies to the here and now. They see that milk production can be done safely. They see that what is needed is a set of laws and compliances ensuring safe milk sold to the public. And they are throwing off the inapplicable fixed ideas and incomplete hit-and-miss standards generally applied to ALL milk by the CDFA that apply to the previous century and its inadequate practices.

These legislators also see the wisdom of offering a choice to their constituency, as opposed to the ONLY product that can be purchased is cooked milk that is still not verified as safe to consume.

Since I don’t and will not drink pasteurized milk, it’s probably up to those California State citizens to demand from the pasteurized milk industry that they sell safe milk too. Maybe they can make the California State lawmakers pass a similar bill that makes pasteurized milk safer too.

All of California society is really being taken care of with SB 201: the raw organic milk dairies here get to continue producing a food that is ACTUALLY good for us all. And we get to consume it and do better physically. When we do better physically, we tend not to get ill. We get to observe our State legislators actually doing something beneficial — as opposed to AB 1735, which was a fast one pulled by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, although I’m of the opinion that there should be a law passed where legislators should be made to fully read and fully understand EACH law they pass, not relegating their understanding to a subordinate; after all, it is they who were voted in to represent their constituency.

Who knows! Maybe, just maybe, SB 201 can be used by other States that wish to see their citizens in better health by drinking raw organic milk produced from grazing-on-grass cows — not in stalls! Just maybe there are legislators in other States who see through the black propaganda against raw organic milk, and want to allow dairies to SAFELY produce raw organic milk and give their people a choice. Sorry! Cooking milk does NOT eradicate pathogens. (See December 2007 article, Two People Die After Drinking Listeria Tainted Milk In Massachusetts from "processed milk" … which means pasteurized milk.)

There will be a blueprint — SB 201. It can be used as a pilot program that can be improved upon as will our health. The direction is definitely an IMPROVEMENT!

The rumormongers and PHD’s who are stuck in the past can keep and hold on to their negative opinions about raw organic milk. They can continue to teach their opinions by way of their status as authorities on the subject. But safe milk IS SAFE MILK! And safe milk is what is important! I’ll be drinking safe uncooked milk — thank you! But you’re entitled to your opinion.

Note: we’re not out of the woods yet. According to the article, jointly issued by Organic Pastures Dairy Company and Claravale Dairy:

Because SB 201 will be designated as an urgency bill, it will go into effect immediately after being signed by the Governor. The challenge of an urgency bill, however, is that we need a 2/3 majority, rather than a simple majority, for the bill to pass. This is why your support is crucial! The California raw milk supply is threatened by AB 1735 and if SB 201 is not passed and signed into law your ability to buy raw milk and dairy products from Claravale and OPDC is in jeopardy. It took just 75 days for the CDFA to stop raw cream from being sold earlier this year based on AB 1735 standards.

It’s important that we all do our bit to show our support. See the request at Organic Pastures’ website.

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10 Comments for "SB 201: clarifying production standards for raw milk"

  1. Diane Vigil

    It looks hopeful for AB 201, although I’m not sure I’d like to hold my breath since David Gumpert over at notes that the Associated Press has just published an anti-raw milk article. And, since many publications don’t do their own research (or, it appears, even their own writing) but instead re-publish the AP’s articles, we’ll be seeing that everywhere.

    That said, Mr. Gumpert (who worked earlier as a journalist and is, I must say, very thorough), says: Here’s a Prediction: Organic Pastures Will Still Be Around When the AP Is a Footnote in History.

    Why? Because they’re out of touch. That’s the problem, too, with this Internet thingy … Mainstream Media is no longer in complete control of all news broadcast to the rest of us. Bummer for them. Because the rest of us can pretty easily have a voice, and we’re talking and listening.

  2. nina lepage

    In Sweden they are recommending the milk that comes from pasture fed cows! It is much more nutritious.

  3. Diane Vigil

    Thanks, Nina, and welcome to We Want Organic Food!

    That’s the general idea here, too. Although some folks don’t see the value in pasture-grazed cows, and the USDA was debating whether to amend its organic guidelines to include milk from non-pasture-grazed cows, it doesn’t take too much reasoning to see that milk from healthy cows allowed to graze and live as they would naturally is more nourishing than milk from cows confined in corrals with nothing but dirt and unsanitary conditions. Our Key to Safe Raw Milk from Cows discusses just this issue.

  4. Raw Milk Road Trip! « Cheese Slave

    […] Read more about SB 201 here.   […]

  5. Lynn Cameron

    George, I was delighted to read this hopeful and informative article. I’m sending it to my local Weston A. Price forum here in northern New York; we support any and all folks in this state striving to produce ‘real’ food for the public. Most folks don’t know that NY is the number three state for dairy production, so this issue is vital for us, too. Our situation is more dire, though, because the misinformation is more firmly entrenched on this coast – Conneticut being the only state where raw milk can be sold in stores, and the dairy consortium is not happy about it, either.

    Thanks for this info. Lynn

  6. Lynn Cameron

    Hej Nina,

    When I was in Dalarna, Sweden visiting dairy-farming relatives a few years ago, I was shocked to note that the family actually purchased their own milk and dairy products from the grocery store! I requested milk directly from their holding tank, and, being most thoroughly hospitable folk, they provided it to us for the weeks we were guests with them – at no small trouble, either. But, they were shocked that I’d want full-fat milk because they’d been conditioned by inaccurate and unsubstantiated Western health research to believe low and non-fat was better for their health.

    At least, the cows grazed on that gorgeous pasture that grows so well in the midnight sun over there; corn and soybeans haven’t made serious inroads into Scandinavia yet, I don’t believe. I might add that the dairy section of the markets is most delectable with so vast a selection of milk, cream, cheese and butter products that there is an entire refrigerated room for them in the grocery stores – even in small and lovely Hedemora.


  7. Diane Vigil

    That sounds lovely, Lynn. What a pleasure.

  8. Raw Milk Road Trip! « The Dairy Diaries

    […] Read more about SB 201 here. […]

  9. Eileen Hastings

    If you are a California resident and do want SB201 to be signed into law, call our California Govt. at 916-445-2841 or fax 916-445-4633 to say you support SB201. As of Friday, 9/5/08 he had not signed this bill into law and our two Raw Dairy farmers would like your support. They need direct contact from you. Thank you. A citizen.

  10. Diane Vigil

    Thanks, Eileen. Will do.

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