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Society joins public health, other stakeholders to oppose raw milk sales

Release Date: March 4, 2013
Contact: Lisa Hildebrand - 608.442.3765 lisa.hildebrand@wismed.org

The Wisconsin Medical Society joined with 15 other advocacy groups and organizations to oppose any introduction of a bill in the State Legislature to legalize the sale of unpasteurized (raw) milk. Under the umbrella of the Safe Milk Coalition, the Society and others oppose the legalization of raw milk because milk that is unpasteurized can cause serious symptoms that are dangerous and potentially life-threatening for children and infants, pregnant women, older adults and those with compromised immune systems.

“Doctors, public health leaders and microbiology professionals recognize the substantial risk for serious infectious diseases to occur with the consumption of unpasteurized milk,” the Safe Milk Coalition said today in this letter to state lawmakers.

In 2010, legislation to allow the sale of raw milk was approved by both houses of the State Legislature before then-Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed it. The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Wisconsin Medical Society and other public health organizations were influential in convincing the governor to veto the legislation.

In today’s letter to lawmakers, the Safe Milk Coalition reminded the Legislature that “In 2011, 16 fourth-graders and their family members from Racine County became ill after they drank raw milk at a classmate’s birthday party. One of the children became hospitalized as a result of the outbreak.”

For more information, e-mail Chris Rasch in the Society’s Government Relations Department.