Friday, February 27, 2009

raw milk under fire...again

well, i'm coming out of hibernation to alert the texans out there of some new legislation looking to be passed. please read the following information and make your voice heard! if you'd like the short version, here goes:

1. consumers will have to pick up their own milk straight from the location it is produced. this means my friends that switch weeks to pick up each others milk will no longer be able to do so.
2. my farmer will have to turn in my name and any other persons name that purchases raw milk from her. excuse me? do i live in a world where people can buy porn and cigarettes at the corner store, but you want MY information for wanting some milk?
3. if you produce milk on your property you are not allowed to take it anywhere for consumption other than your own property.

here is the official long version:

Proposed Rules for Raw Dairy and Cheesemaking
The Texas Department of Health is working on new rules governing milk and dairy products in Texas. It is important that everyone who cares about having access to raw milk and farmstead cheeses speak up during this process!
For several years, raw milk farmers in Texas have struggled with the restriction that raw milk may be sold directly to the consumer "only at the point of production, i.e. at the farm.&#xu201D; The draft rule would make it even harder, by requiring that the farmer "offer for sale and distribute raw milk directly to the final consumer only at the point of production, i.e. at the farm.&#xu201D; This new provision would prevent people from picking up their milk through carpools, agent arrangements, etc. The draft rule also requires raw milk farmers to turn over a list of their customers to the government, and prevents people from even possessing raw milk that is not labeled and graded outside of their home.
The draft rules also create extensive permitting and regulatory burdens on family farms making farmstead cheeses. Currently, small-scale cheesemakers are required to have a single food manufacturing permit, but the draft rule would require two permits, each with higher fees, and expensive infrastructure and equipment.
The draft rules are available at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/milk/draft.shtm
TAKE ACTION
The deadline for submitting comments on the draft rule is March 6, 2009. Please note that the agency plans to formally propose rules in April, so this is just Round One!! This is a chance to speak up relatively early in the process, which is the best time to make real changes.
Send your comments via email to Gene.Wright@dshs.state.tx.us or by regular mail to Gene Wright, Manager, Milk and Dairy Group, Texas Department of State Health Services, P.O. Box 149347 MC 1987, Austin, Texas 78714-9347.

if even if you're not a texan, this should matter to you! it is safe to say that once small freedoms like these are taken in one place that it could easily happen where you live.
take action!
are you with me?!?

3 comments:

The Kramer Family said...

This makes me want to barf! In my opinion, you are taking a much greater risk drinking store-bought milk from a commercial dairy than from a small raw milk dairy. Its bogus!

You better believe we are all over this one and watching it closely.

Jason and I laugh because even though we sell pastured meats, a lot of times at our drop-offs we feel like we are making drug deals. I know dairy farms feel even more like this and often times have to switch up their drop-off locations. Crazy!

Thanks for sharing!

Farmer Brad said...

Thanks for caring and getting the word out! What's more basic in life then our freedom to access good food?

Genie said...

Did this go through? We're brand new at grass farming and I am woefully uneducated on the state of these things here in Texas. I'm definitely hoping to produce natural milk, butter, and cheese. Guess I've got some Googling to do on TDH and raw dairy production.

You're blog is awesome, I will definitely be following you on our farm blog.