Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Raw Milk Monday
Sorry about missing last week. I was selfishly enjoying some relaxation time in the middle of a pond on a kayak...yes, Michigan was berry berry good to me.
So where is this raw milk struggle in Illinois?
November 2102 IDPH decides they need to have rules about sales of raw milk even though there have been no illnesses related to fluid raw milk produced on an ILLINOIS farm. They organize a group of folk and have a meeting.
January. They meet again. Someone suggest they maybe want to include an actual raw milk farmer.
I get invited to join
February. I attend the 3rd mtg of this work group and discover they have three pages of proposed rules out together by those who do not make their living producing raw milk. In fact the majority of the work group is comprised of government officials and big dairy employees. The proposed rules are very slanted against raw milk production , consumption and sales.
February. I sound the alarm and start calling all the raw milk farmers I know plus the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund and we get to work
May. The BIG meeting in Bloomington. With the Dairy Work group now (finally) being comprised of equal number of pro and con raw milk folk real discussion with IDPH begins. We counter all the proposed rules and are well supported by over 125 general public attendees all opposed to the new proposed rules. Physicians, lawyers, retired heath care personal give moving testimonies in favor of not limiting raw milk sale in Illinois. IDPH appears to be listening
June. Conference call with IDPH. The agenda not only ignored what the new Dairy Work Group members asked for in May, it now includes even STRICTER proposed rules especially in the area of milk testing. The farmers unanimously refuse to accept the agenda and refuse to move forward. A request is made to start over from scratch and IDPH agrees. Note: very few anti-raw milk work group members bothered to attend this conference call.
June. The Pro-raw milk members of the Dairy Work Group submit a brand new agenda to IDPH for consideration at the July 11 IDPH sponsored mtg. It remains to be seen ( as of this writing) if that new agenda will be accepted. If indeed it is, I'll share that agenda with you.
In the meantime journalist Tom Kocal Of The Prairie Advocate News continues to hold IDPH feet to the fire in regards to the Open Meeting Act of Illinois which they claim they do not need to follow., by registering a complaint with the Attorney General He has also filed Freedom of Information Act requests related to the FDA grant IDPH accepted which IDPH has not been open and forthright about. In other words WHO is behind the drive to severely limit raw milk sales in Illinois and why?
So, just 7 months ago it looked as if IDPH wanted to say HALT to raw milk sales in Illinois but now, due to aggressive involvement of Illinois Farmers, Consumers and Media, and several of our state representatives who are as opposed to the addition of non-sensical rules as we are, those wheels have significantly been slowed.
But we are not fools. Government has a way of feigning public interest while at the same time generating extreme and escape free restraints on American Farmers. So we remain acutely aware and prepared for what we may have to do next if indeed the atmosphere of "working together for a common goal" goes sour.