Last week, Brian Lambert's Daily Glean in Minnpost sipped from articles about the bill to allow more liberal sales of raw milk; three Republican state senators, Gary Dahms (Redwood Falls), Sean Nienow (Cambridge), and Claire Robling (Jordan) sponsored the measure. (In the House, Sarah Anderson, Bob Barrett, Kurt Daudt, and Dean Urdahl support the lower chamber's version).
The New Ulm Journal reported yesterday that Dahms will remove his name from raw milk bill:
Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, said Saturday that he will be withdrawing his name from the Minnesota Senate bill aimed at making it easier for consumer to purchase raw milk.
Dahms declined to comment on the reason he wanted his name removed or even the date it would be officially removed. . . .
The bill was introduced on January 27; Dahms' name was stricken today. The article continues:
. . .The most prominent component of the move has been the legal battle with Minnesota dairy farmer Michael Hartmann. The state has alleged that raw milk sold from Hartmann's farm in Gibbon was responsible for the sickening of at least 15 people with E. coli, campylobacter and cryptosporidium. Hartmann is accused of selling the milk illegally at Twin Cities drop sites. The investigation into the case prompted the state's crackdown.
Also opposing the bill is Minnesota Milk Producers Association, which represents the state's dairy farmers who pasteurize their milk. The organization has come forward in opposition, arguing that there is many health risk associated with raw milk. . . .
Lambert had written his digest in more colorful language:
Quite honestly, I had never read the Food Poison Journal until today. But Drew Falkenstein’s story on Minnesota allowing raw milk sales caught my eye: ... the home state of Mik Hartmann, whose raw dairy products have been implicated in outbreaks that sickenend at least 15 people in the state, and who has been at the heart of a major legal battle — one that he lost — ever since. I hope Minnesotans don't get too comfortable just because they live in one of the states where outbreaks go to die.” Uh, waiter, can I change my order? Instead of the milk shake, I’ll have a scotch on the rocks.
Mark Steil at MPR adds: ... None of the bill's three co-sponsors could be reached to discuss the legislation. The bill will serve as a forum to debate the merits and risks of drinking raw milk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 1,700 illnesses and 2 deaths were traced to raw milk over the decade ending in 2008.”
Expanded raw milk sales are championed by groups like the Organic Consumers Association, while opposed by Minnesota public health and agriculture regulators, as well as the Minnesota Milk Producers Association.
What changed Dahms' mind so quickly?
Update: the Mankato Free Press editorial board weighs in on the raw milk issue here: Our View: Restricting raw milk the better plan.