Eau Claire (WQOW) - Wisconsin Representative David Murphy announced he plans to introduce legislation in November allowing farmers a way to sell their raw milk and other dairy products to the public.
Currently, 30 states allow sales of raw milk, or milk that has not been pasteurized. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said licensed dairy producers can drink raw milk from their own farms and sell it to their employees, but not to the general public.
Murphy said consumers should be able to go to a farm that they trust to buy their milk. Other supporters said the pasteurization process eliminates nutrients in milk. The Eau Claire City-County Health Department said the few nutritional benefits lost can found in other parts of our diet.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, illnesses from raw milk are on the rise with an increase in states legalizing the product. The health department said once an outbreak has occurred, it can easily spread to those who do not drink raw milk.
"Is that a relative risk worth introducing into this society?" Shane Sanderson, Environmental Health Director of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department asked. "If someone gets Campylobacter for example, from raw milk, like the students in Durand in 2014, they have the ability to bring that home, and spread it to their family. What if one of their family members works in a restaurant?"
Last September, almost 40 students and staff at Durand High School fell sick after some football players drank raw milk at a team dinner. State officials said it was one of the largest raw milk illness outbreaks they had ever seen.