Six lobbyists who appear to represent a coalition of agriculture and public health entities in Iowa filed Monday as opponents of Senate File 287, which would allow unpasteurized raw milk to be sold to “a final consumer.”
Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, dropped SF 287 into the hopper of Iowa’s 87th General Assembly Monday, but before it was assigned to committee the opponents were registering against it.
Organizations signed up in opposition of SF2 87 include: Iowa Department of Agriculture; Iowa Dairy Foods Association; Iowa Public Health Association, and three lobbyists from the Iowa Medical Society.
“The Iowa Public Health Association joins the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in supporting evidence-based public policy that protects the health of Iowans through the pasteurization of milk,” according to the public health association’s website.
“Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill any disease-causing bacteria contained in the milk. Numerous dietary studies show that the nutritional effects of pasteurization are minimal while the health risks posed by consuming raw milk are real. Raw milk and its products provide an ideal environment in which bacteria can grow.”
The bill seeks to legalize the sale of unpasteurized or ungraded milk to “final consumers.” It prevents the Iowa Department of Agriculture from adopting regulations “inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter.”
Only grade A pasteurized milk could be sold in restaurants, soda fountains, grocery stores or similar establishments, but unpasteurized raw milk or ungraded milk could be sold to the “final consumer.”
The bill was introduced by Sen. Chelgren at about 1 p.m. Monday. According to rules of the Iowa Legislature, SF 287 would need to be assigned to a committee and win a “do-pass” recommendation vote by March 3.
That is the deadline for bills to clear committee in their house of origin. Iowa lawmakers went to work on Jan. 9, and are scheduled to adjourn on April 28.
Sen. Chelgren first won election to the Iowa Senate in 2010. He is president and CEO of Frog Legs Inc., a wheelchair parts manufacturing company. He also has other manufacturing interests.
While Iowa’s definition of a “final consumer” is not readily available, it typically would be someone who makes a direct purchase from the milk producer on a farm, at a farmers market or personal residence.
Iowa is an entirely Red State. Republicans control the Legislature, 28-19 in the Senate, and 59-41 in the House. Iowa’s Republican Gov. Terry Branstad is awaiting Senate confirmation as the next U.S. Ambassador to China. If he resigns Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, also a Republican, will become governor of Iowa.
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