Laws around raw milk sales could change soon
Speech to Missouri Farm Bureau 2019
To: Executive Directors, Officers, Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, Delegates, and Members of the Missouri Farm Bureau.
December 8, 2019
I am Dr. Mark Robinson and my wife is Leesa Robinson. We are primary health care providers, in private practice, holding a license to practice in the state of Missouri. We are true scientists who value the application of science in caring for our patients, our cattle, our land, and the products we produce. As scientists, accepting change that modern science has proven to be true can be difficult. Change can require us to discard decades of beliefs and behaviors that are no longer applicable.
We are also dairy farmers who milk Jersey cows, on our 160 acre rotational grazing farm, in a state of Missouri Grade A permitted dairy barn that we built on our farm. We have also built on our farm, a milk processing plant that we personally operate and bottle milk in, that is permitted by the State of Missouri as a Grade A Retail Raw Milk bottling plant. Located in Jasper County, just outside of Carthage, and known as Marlee’s Creamery. We are not required by Missouri law to be a “permitted” raw milk bottler. We choose to be, and we are the ONLY Grade A Retail Raw Milk permitted raw milk bottling/processing plant in the state of Missouri, meeting all the higher statutory requirements that permit requires with full access to operational privileges and legal truths those statutes give all Grade A processing plants.
Leesa and I are asking you, Missouri Farm Bureau, to support Missouri HB 1335.
Please, read on to learn why.
3 Missouri Statutory Definitions of Raw Milk when applied to the selling of raw milk.
Raw Milk – legal to sell to people seeking to purchase raw milk in the state of Missouri, at the farm or for deliveries, without any producing or processing regulatory requirements such as permitting or a certificate of training concerning milk quality, safety, microscopic pathogens, contamination, cow health, source, producing and processing procedures, packaging and handling, transport, delivering, ect. This type of sale was determined legal, as defined by Missouri Statutes, by attorney general Koster in a 2008-2009 case that was ruled in the favor of the farmer who appealed the Green County Court ruling against the farmer, to the Missouri higher court. This ruling set the precedence on all sales of Raw Milk (cow, goat, camel, and even human breast milk) in our state. Grade A permitted raw milk that is produced in bulk for pasteurization by a producer/dairy farmer can also be sold in this way.
Grade A Raw Milk – a permit that is required to make it legal to sell for pasteurization and processing. Applies to the dairy producer when meeting all the statutory requirements this permit requires, is then given full access to operational privileges and legal truths those statutes give all Grade A producers. The laws of Missouri and the federal laws of the US (followed when milk and milk products intended for retail markets are sold in the state or across state lines) define all milk sold raw for pasteurization or for the retail market must be graded. Some of the Quality standards included in this permit are as follows; the type of water available for cleaning and the quality and temperature of that water, water level in the milk, cooling rate and temperature of the milk including agitation, debris or contaminates in milk, antibiotics, somatic cell counts, bacteria plate counts, butterfat levels, and protein.
Grade A Retail Raw Milk- this permit applies to the dairy processor. When meeting all of the HIGHER statutory requirements this permit requires, the processor is given full access to operational privileges and legal truths those statutes give all Grade A processing plants. 4 examples of higher requirements: 1) the milking barn supplying the milk must be a Grade A permitted barn
2) bacteria plate counts are required to be lower than what is allowed for a
Grade A producer.
They are almost at pasteurization requirements
3) coliform counts are required to be at a safe level.
4) all producing animals must be TB and Brucellosis once a year.
Using science, this permit allows us to see what the naked eye can’t.
The original intent of the Missouri State Milk Board for the Grade A Retail Raw processing permit was, as I quote a state milk board inspector, “since the sale of raw milk is legal at the retail level, there needs to be a processor permit”. Prior to 1991, the permit had value to the processor and that value included meeting statutory requirements in quality and excellence. In 1991, the Missouri legislators adopted legislation that unknowingly created conflict in the laws, therefore rendering this permit worthless.
HB 1335 will amend the law that created the conflict, thus creating value and desire for the permit. It puts public safety first and meets the increased consumer demand for safe raw milk. It will give the dairy producer and small farmer in this state another safe and affordable option in marketing their milk with an increase in on farm profit margins, HB 1335 will do this using science in todays changed dairy producing environment.
Changes we seen since scientist Louis Pasteur developed pasteurization and other scientists that have followed.
Milk born illness decreased
Rickets epidemic developed and scientists had to re-think the benefits of pasteurization and consider the proven fact that pasteurization caused this in the children of that time. Being the quality of scientists they were and accepting that truth, belief and behavior changed and milk has to be re-fortified by law with what pasteurization took away.
Refrigeration and modern milking equipment was developed and operational fundamentals improved.
Cleaning and sanitation chemicals have improved to the specific need of the dairy industry and the products produced by the dairy farmer.
Milking procedures, cow health requirements, and personal health and habits of the dairy industry personnel has drastically changed.
Milk handling by human touch and open exposure to atmospheric environments is no long acceptable.
Grade A Retail Raw Milk can be produced safely for humans !
Science has proven this truth.
The belief and behavior toward raw milk needs to change.
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