MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin farmers who want to sell raw milk would have to go through an elaborate procedure under a bill endorsed Tuesday by a Senate committee.
The rural issues panel endorsed the measure on a 3-2 party line vote, tilted by Republicans. The raw milk package now goes to the full Senate, but not at least until early next year.
Governor Scott Walker has said he would not support the bill unless without numerous safeguards against disease outbreaks from unpasteurized milk.
Tuesday, an amended bill was brought forward to try and meet those challenges. Senate Republican Glenn Grothman of West Bend says the changes are not needed to protect the public, but they are needed to get approvals.
Raw milk sales would still be limited to the farms of producers who register with the state. Farmers would have to take samples daily from their cows, and freeze them for 15 days. They'd have to list the names of all buyers, and make them available to government officials.
Monthly tests would confirm that all raw milk is free of pathogens, and meet bacterial and somatic-cell counts. Annual tests would confirm that all cows are free of bovine tuberculosis.
Finally, farmers who give antibiotics to cows could not sell raw milk from those animals until drug residues are eliminated.