Raw deal? Wisconsin groups debate bill to legalize raw milk sales

The Wisconsin state Legislature could look to legalize limited sales of raw milk just months after the near vindication of dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger, who in May was found not guilty on three of four misdemeanor charges after a trial the state insisted was definitely not about selling raw milk

The bill, authored by Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, would allow dairy farmers to register with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to sell raw milk directly to consumers on the farm. 

Raw milk proponents -- ranging from real food activists to free choice advocates -- hope lawmakers will overcome a bevy of what they see as nanny-staters and industry groups that want to block the legislation. 

The bill is slated for a public hearing on Wednesday. Seventeen lobbying groups have registered against the legislation, including American Family Insurance, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association. As of Tuesday, only the Wisconsin Farmer's Union and the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association have registered in favor. 

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