Didi Pershouse Testifies in Favor of Raw Milk Bill, VT H125

Didi Pershouse, founder of the Center for Sustainable Medicine, was asked to testify last Friday in front of the Committee on Agriculture at the Vermont State House on the use and safety of raw, unpasteurized milk.  The bill, H-125, seeks to allow unlimited sales of raw milk directly from farms that meet the required safety regulations as well as allow deliveries directly to customers.  Pershouse spoke in favor of the bill, with a couple of proposed amendments.

Pershouse’s testimony, lasting about 20 minutes,  (but interrupted by the Attorney General’s testimony) began by pointing out the irony that humans breast feed their children, and pump and store that milk, without any of the precautions used by raw milk farmers. “If we don’t allow sales of raw milk, then perhaps we should require pasteurization of breast milk. A child can reach in its diaper and grab back onto the breast.  A mother doesn’t always shower before breastfeeding.  Why are we so worried about cows milk from clean healthy cows?”  She went on to point out that vegetables also are grown in manure and dirt, and that we don’t require pasteurization of those.  “But, if we are worried about raw milk, then certainly all lettuce should be boiled before eaten, and carrots too. No more crunchy carrots.  Too dirty.”

Finally she pointed out that she could walk into the village store and buy alcohol and cigarettes, which cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, yet could not buy the most basic pure food there is:  milk, straight from the cow.

One female representative apologized to the male members present before asking a question about breastfeeding, saying she didn’t want to “embarrass anyone,” then asked “Are there really no government regulations for storing breast milk?”

One of the  amendments proposed by Pershouse was that the language in the bill be changed from “Farm Fresh Milk”  to “Raw Milk”–since that is the term that most consumers use when looking for raw milk, (and “unpasteurized” implies that pasteurization is the normal state of milk.)   The second amendment she proposed was that farmers should be responsible for cleaning all  jars returned by customers. The reasoning given was that if a customer’s unclean jar were to contaminate the milk, the raw milk industry in general would be blamed–rather than tracing it back to a dirty dishbrush, for example.

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