Monday, February 10, 2014
Raw Milk Monday
Please note: If you are new to my blog you can catch up on the reasons for my raw milk passion and the struggles our own farm have experienced, by reading any of the previous posts on the topic I have written over the last 4 years . To do so, simply enter "Raw Milk" in the search bar, on the right.
Its' certainly been awhile since I've updated everyone about the raw milk status in Illinois. So here goes.
You might recall, the last meeting of the Dairy Work Group, a subcommittee of the Food Safety Committee of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) was held in November 2013. A couple weeks later Molly Lamp of IDPH emailed the members of the Dairy Work Group, of which I was one, telling us the group was no longer needed.
Our comments and suggestions were now on their way up the chain of law making command. After a year of hard work, heated discussions and banging our heads against the brick walls put up by those who were far more interested in the welfare of big Ag than they were in the ability of small farmers to make a living selling a wholesome product.
Last week I was contacted by Eva Voinigescu a reporter with the Medill News Service in Chicago. She's working on a video story about raw milk policy in Illinois. Like a good reporter ( a rarity today with so many just re posting and re tweeting without ever verifying their sources) she called Molly Lamb for a comment.
Ms. Lamb told her that the group was NOT disbanded.
How very interesting is that since we've not had another meeting nor have any been scheduled for 2014.? Ms. Lamb told us herself the proposed rules suggested by the group, and hopefully all the documented opposition to those rules, was making its way towards the Joint Commission of Administrative Rules (JCAR) .But once again I am not surprised. If I learned anything last year in the trenches of law making it was this:
Facts are not valued in the process. Opinion, power and end results for those who will benefit most, are on the other hand, greatly valued.
For your viewing pleasure I've recopied the shortened flow chart of the rule making process for raw milk sales in Illinois. Once again I have to state that we in Illinois were very fortunate that we found out about the changes being suggested BEFORE they went to JCAR and at least had the opportunity to oppose then and suggest more reasonable solutions. Whether or not our work made any difference still remains to be seen. But we were proud to at least be part of the process.
Bottom line as of today February 10, 2014. There are NO enforceable rules regarding raw milk production or sale in Illinois.