Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (D) has reportedly vetoed a proposal (S.B. 434) that would have allowed farmers to sell unpasteurized milk and milk products directly to consumers. Doyle indicated in April 2010 that he would likely sign the bill, but ultimately decided that the potential health risks of consuming raw milk outweighed its alleged benefits. “I recognize that there are strong feelings on both sides of this matter, but on balance, I must side with the interests of public health and the safety of the dairy industry,” he said in his May 19 veto message. He added that an expert task force will stay abreast of the issue to “make certain that the concerns and interests on all sides are fully analyzed.”

Raw-milk opponents like plaintiffs’ lawyer Bill Marler assert that sales of the unpasteurized products could lead to bacterial contamination outbreaks while advocates reportedly contend that unprocessed milk contains nutrients that can ameliorate certain cardiac conditions, including high blood pressure. The ongoing food safety debate over the production and sale of raw milk products was highlighted in Issue 348 of this Update. See Office of the Governor News Release and Journal Sentinel, May 19, 2010.