Author Archives: Mollie

03/24 Equinox Update

In this update:
FromDirector

Message from The Director
Dear Members & Friends:

Did you celebrate the Vernal Equinox last Thursday by dancing around in the new snow? Any sign of daffodils where you live?  Superstition holds that on the Vernal Equinox (when the sun is aligned with the earth’s equator) you can balance a raw egg on its end. I suspect that is an easier task than getting meaningful legislation through the State House.

We’re more than halfway through the session and last week marked the “crossover” deadline for most bills that hold any hope of getting passed this year. The good news is that the bills that Rural Vermont is working on are still “in the game.” Read on for more details and also how you can get involved.

The pace in the State House will only accelerate from now through early May and we will do our best to keep you up to date on issues you care about. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with any questions you may have.

There’s a quote attributed to Otto Von Bismark, German Chancellor and Prime Minister in the 1800s: “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” Here’s an entertaining New York Times article from WAY back in 2005 about why at least one sausage maker is insulted by the comparison. Enjoy!

Andrea
P.S. Rural Vermont is seeking Summer Interns! Full descriptions and details available on our website (note 4/7/14 application deadline). Help us spread the word!

P.P.S. Rural Vermont’s 29th Annual Celebration will be held on May 15th in Chester.

LegUpdateWhat’s Up Under the Golden Dome
GMO Labeling – H.112

The Senate Judiciary Committee took substantial testimony on the bill last week. This included a panel of “experts” addressing the constitutional issues in the bill. Thanks to everyone who came to the State House last week to attend the committee sessions. This coming week looks like it could be pivotal.

Recognizing that things are constantly in flux at the State House – the Senate Judiciary Committee’s schedule indicates that they will take more testimony on Wed. morning, then “mark up” the bill (which means make whatever changes they are contemplating) and then POSSIBLY vote on the bill. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this indeed occurs. Time is not on our side in this campaign and the sooner the bill moves to the next step in the process the more likely it will make it all the way through the gauntlet. If you have questions about the bill or the legislative process please contact us.
> To TAKE ACTION, please write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Speak from the heart and tell your community why you support GMO Labeling.
Raw Milk – S.70
Due to the pressure of crossover deadlines, the House Ag Committee has not yet scheduled testimony on Rural Vermont’s proposed improvements to the raw milk law. We are hopeful we will get a commitment on a schedule of testimony this week.

Please keep any eye on your local paper for any anti-raw milk letters or articles.  Dr. Robert Luby, a long-time raw milk advocate, who participated in Rural Vermont’s Raw Milk Summit last October, has written a terrific letter which you can read here.   Please contact Robb Kidd if you see the issue of raw milk in your local paper.
> To TAKE ACTION in support of raw milk, please consider writing your own Letter to the Editor to express your support for greater access to raw milk. Contact Robb if you need assistance.

Compost – H.542
This bill passed the House in time for crossover and is now in the Sen. Ag. Cmte. It is expected to be approved there and will then go to Sen. Finance where Chair Tim Ashe has said he supports it. The bill corrects the inequity in taxation of soil amendments. Compost sold in bulk (at least 1 cubic yard and not prepackaged) will be exempt from sales tax.

To TAKE ACTION on this bill, please contact the members of the Senate Ag Committee and urge them to pass the bill.
Current Use – H.329
This bill, which was passed by the House last year, has gone through a “strike all” amendment process and is being worked on in the Sen. Agriculture Cmte. They have heard a lot of different people testify to how vital the program is to VT’s working lands but beyond that opinions vary greatly on whether and what changes should or need to be made to the program. The version of the bill as passed by the House last year is available on the legislative website. If you are interested in seeing the current version of the bill, please contact Andrea Stander. It is not clear yet what changes the Senate Ag Cmte will make to the bill.

Water Quality – H.586

This complex and multifaceted bill was passed out of the Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee (which wrote the bill) two weeks ago. Late last week – in order to meet the requirements of a crossover extension – the House Ag Committee considered the bill and made some significant changes based in part on testimony they took earlier in the session.

In exchange for moving the bill quickly to meet the deadline, House Ag secured a promise from FWW Chair Rep. David Deen that they can continue working on it while it goes to Ways & Means to address the funding package it contains. The House Ag Cmte only worked on the portions of the bill that directly impact agriculture and you can see their version here. You can see the complete bill as it was passed out of the Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Cmte here.

One of the key components of the bill is to ensure that all small farms  are in compliance with the Accepted Agriculture Practices (AAPs). The bill directs the Agency of Ag to define “small farms” and also update the AAPs through a  rule making process.

If you would like more information about this bill or would be interested in providing testimony about how you address protecting water quality on your farm, please contact Andrea Stander.
IssuesInNewsRural Vermont Issues in the News
Here are some recent articles and Letters to the Editor you may not have seen. Have an issue you’re passionate about? Consider starting a conversation with your neighbors by writing your own Letter to the Editor. Contact Robb Kidd if you need assistance.
education

FYI: Upcoming Educational Opportunities:
Rural Vermont maintains a broader listing of events on our website.  Contact Mollie Wills for information about publicizing your event (we cannot guarantee posting all events due to time and space constraints).
At its heart, Rural Vermont is a grassroots advocacy organization.
That means our ability to create changes that you care about
is directly tied to the number of members
who support our work.
Our credibility and power comes directly from you -
the people who share our values and our vision
for a community-based food system
that enables family farms to thrive and
offers everyone access to locally-produced foods of their choice.
To make this vision a reality,
we need you.

 

THANKS!
P.S. If you THINK you’re already a member but aren’t 100% sure
 (and just because you’re receiving this email does NOT necessarily mean you’re a member) please contact Mollie Wills to find out your membership status.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

CALL – (802) 223-7222
WRITE or VISIT: Rural Vermont, 15 Barre Street, Montpelier, VT 05602

VT Digger: Senators preview legal challenges to GMO labeling law

By Hilary Niles
Mar. 19, 2014
Full Article

State lawmakers got a sneak preview Wednesday of the court battle that likely awaits if they pass a law requiring genetically modified foods sold in Vermont to be labeled.

Industry representatives both for and against a labeling law gave heated testimony at the Statehouse to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where a bill that already passed the House now awaits action.

H.112 would mandate that most packaged foods be labeled if they contain genetically modified organisms. As currently written, dairy products, alcohol and meat, plus restaurant food, would be exempted from the law.

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, chair of Senate Judiciary, said he supports the bill, but his biggest concerns are the potential cost of litigation and the dairy exemption.

Assistant Attorney General Bridget Asay testified that the state may spend about $1 million defending the law in court. Even if it is successful, she said it would be hard to recover legal fees. If the state lost, the legal challenge could cost $5 million or more. The estimate includes the state’s costs and potential reimbursement for a victorious plaintiff.

Given the size of the potential price tag, Sears says, he wants to make sure the law is failsafe.

To that end, the hearing Wednesday served as a preview of what challenges opponents may lodge against the pending legislation. Sears said the expert testimony opposing a labeling law comprised the first negative comments his committee had heard, though the Senate Agriculture Committee previously gathered opposing views in their deliberations.

Potential amendments

As senators finalize the bill for a committee vote by the end of March, two major amendments emerge as possibilities: One to require a legal defense fund to cover the costs of litigation, and another to eliminate the dairy exemption for fear it may undermine the bill’s viability in court.

Asay conveyed Attorney General Bill Sorrell’s concerns about a proposal to pass the bill only if a privately funded legal defense fund would be established to cover the expense of legal challenges.

“If the Legislature concludes that a proposed law serves the public interest and should be adopted notwithstanding the possibility of a legal challenge, it should pass the law and assume the cost of its defense,” Sorrell wrote in a letter to Sears.

“Quite frankly that boxes us in,” Sears told Asay at the hearing. He said he thinks it would be irresponsible to set the state up for a potentially costly lawsuit without setting aside the money to pay for it.

Sen. Jeanette White, D-Windham, said she’s troubled by the prospect of setting a precedent for only supporting what can be backed by wealthy interests.

The legal defense fund idea was not part of the Senate Agriculture bill, Sears acknowledged after the hearing, but he said that doesn’t mean the idea can’t be revisited.

Leaving dairy out of the bill was a strategic move on the part of VPIRG.

“We wanted to make the law about genetically modified foods,” said Falko Schilling, a lobbyist for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “Milk itself is not genetically modified,” Schilling said, even though milk-producing animals may consume GMO grains.

VPIRG’s pro bono legal counsel, the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at the Vermont Law School, testified that case law also supports the exemption. Andrew Homan cited the failed regulation of the growth hormone rBST as a lesson that any object of labeling regulation must be provably different from the products that don’t require labels.

Milk samples from animals that have and have not consumed GMO grains have not been proven compositionally distinct, he said. Therefore, they should be treated the same. Genetically modified ingredients in food products, however, can be detected.

Still, Sears wants assurance.

“Do we have a reason, that can be defended in court, that exempts dairy and not corn chips,” he asked. “Or is it because Vermont is a big dairy state?”

The issue of milk’s composition presages a deeper legal argument behind GMO product labeling.

A potential lawsuit would hinge on several legal arguments: First Amendment rights and protections against compelled speech, “equal protection” laws, rules prohibiting conflict between state and federal laws, and the so-called “dormant commerce” clause saying states can’t make laws that will have adverse impact on interstate commerce.

Beneath these legal questions brews a morass of conflicting opinions, contradictory scientific reports and varying interpretations about federal policy on GMOs — or lack thereof.

The differences are critical because many legal arguments — especially that of compelled speech — revolve around whether or not GMO products are different, and whether the information contained in a label is “fact.”

Wednesday morning, labeling supporters said the federal Food and Drug Administration had not determined whether or not GMO foods are safe. But labeling opponents said the FDA had clearly determined that they are.

Stanley Abramson, an attorney with Arent Fox PLLC who represents the Biotechnology Industry Organization, as well as global agricultural firm Monsanto, is a former lawyer for the Environmental Protection Agency and a principal drafter of the federal government’s Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology. Abramson testified by phone from Washington, D.C., to caution against the labeling law.

He said the FDA’s position is that GMO food should be held to the same safety standards as anything raised through traditional breeding techniques. This implies the two groups of food are “substantially similar” and therefore should be treated equally under the law. Any labeling requirement to distinguish GMO food would be misleading, Abramson testified.

Abramson’s position was echoed by Dr. Val Giddings, a geneticist by training who now works as a private consultant and who testified as senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Silver Springs, Md. Giddings and Dr. Michael Hansen, a senior staff scientist with the Consumers Union, differed emphatically on bodies of science surrounding GMO foods.

Giddings testified at length about a lack of credible scientific evidence that GMO foods pose any risks.

The flip side of federal law and policy treating GMO and non-GMO food equally is that there is no mention of GMO products in the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. When it comes to the interplay between federal and state laws, federal statutes hold sway. No state law can preempt a law of the nation.

“The state requirement to label does not conflict with any federal law because there is none,” said Hanses, of the Consumers Union.

The other member of VPIRG’s counsel at the hearing, Laura Murphy, said similar labeling laws bolster the state’s defense on the grounds of interstate commerce.

Should it pass, H.112 would not take effect for one or two years, to allow time for rule making by the state and compliance among food producers. Asay noted, however, that if any parties intend to sue over the law, they likely would file suit very quickly after passage, not waiting for the effective date to roll around.


“Hemp Happening” Success

Hemp Activists gather for Rural Vermont's "Hemp Happening" event in Middlebury

Hemp Activists gather for Rural Vermont’s “Hemp Happening” event in Middlebury

Hemp Happening- March 19, 2014
By Rural Vermont Organizing Intern Kimberly Voellmann

This past Wednesday, a group of nearly forty Hemp enthusiasts gathered at Middlebury’s Ilsley Public Library, sharing a common aspiration: hemp cultivation. The desire to grow hemp plants in Vermont on a range of scales from personal to commercial and agricultural is something bringing more and more Vermonters together for collaboration. Hemp offers Vermont a great economic opportunity.

Rural Vermont Organizer Robb Kidd stated that “Rural Vermont recognizes hemp cultivation as an opportunity to provide Vermont farmers with a highly versatile crop that gives them financial opportunity while increasing sustainability and filling the demand for local hemp products.” The plant is the source of strong fibers that can be used to produce a number of goods. Hemp seeds offer huge nutritional value, containing high levels of protein, amino acids, and Omega-3s. The seed can also be used to add to animal feed as a nutritionally dense product. There is a recognized demand for the product in Vermont, but currently no legal source of the plant.

Hemp cultivation gained a new light, and greater attention after a clear definition was created which separated the plant from marijuana, and was recognized as an agricultural product deserving of its own laws and regulations. Hemp is defined in Vermont as “the plant Cannabis sativa (L.) and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

It is currently legal in Vermont to grow hemp, as long as the grower registers with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and pays the $25 fee. However, it is illegal for individuals to grow hemp under Federal jurisdiction. The most recent Farm Bill passed by President Obama allows for hemp cultivation at research and academic institutions. The University of Vermont is ready to begin research programs with hemp, but attorneys at the university are hesitant in respect to legal implications.

Rural Vermont Organizer Robb Kidd

Rural Vermont Organizer Robb Kidd

Vermont Attorney, Josyln Wilsek, of Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC, spoke to the risks of growing hemp in Vermont, emphasizing that it is not legal under federal law. She laid out the reality of hemp cultivation and warned growers of what opposition they may face. This forewarning, however, did not seem to faze hemp advocates in attendance, but rather provoked greater interest and willingness to go ahead with hemp cultivation. The majority of attendees expressed interest in growing hemp on land they have already purchased, or to find out more about the prospects of growing hemp in Vermont for economic gain. Eric Lineback of Vote Hemp pointed out that we have yet to experience any opposition from Federal authorities and does not see a clear reason why they would need to interfere with Vermont growers.

Netaka White, the co-owner of Full Sun Company and an event cosponsor, expressed his company’s prospects with hemp cultivation in the state. Full Sun Company, an oilseed supplier based in Middlebury, sees the opportunity hemp seed oil offers. They currently rely on Canadian farms for their supply of hemp seed, but would like to support Vermont farmers and obtain their supply more locally. Netaka introduced Reuben Stone, a hemp farmer from Ottawa who shared a presentation via video conference about the logistics of growing hemp, and the benefits he has experienced since beginning cultivation. Since 2009, Stone has been growing two thousand acres of hemp in Canada. He was able answer a variety of in-depth questions the audience posed to him.

Rural Vermont Hemp Happening

Netaka White of Full Sun Company

The Hemp Happening was successful in bringing together hemp enthusiasts and providing an educational opportunity for those interested in entering the emergent market for hemp products. The turnout is evidence that Vermont is a promising environment in which to take advantage of the opportunity hemp offers. Attendees were loaded with questions, including concerns surrounding seed sourcing, legal risks, and applications to homesteaders, all expressing an urgent desire to start growing. As hemp is a fairly versatile plant, it offers a variety of options for people to turn it into a highly valued product. Rural Vermont expressed deep appreciation for Senator Leahy for his work in achieving hemp progress on a national level and hope this acceptance continues to grow in the future.  For more information regarding hemp in Vermont, email robb@ruralvermont.org.


Seven Days LTE: Freedom to Slaughter

By Ben Hewitt
3/19/14
Full LTE

I enjoyed Kathryn Flagg’s article about her experience with Green Pasture Meats’ mobile slaughter unit ["A Gentler Exit," March 5]. However, Vermonters have humanely and safely slaughtered animals on-farm for generations without the benefit of fuel-guzzling, $225,000 mobile facilities that must sit idle waiting for lost federal inspectors. While I wish Mark Smith nothing but the best with his ambitious endeavor, let us not forget that the very assumption of the necessity for such infrastructure is emblematic of our severely eroded rights with regard to how we feed ourselves. According to Flagg’s article, many Agency of Agriculture officials acknowledge the existence of a so-called “black market” in farm-slaughtered meat. To those consciously participating in that market, either as producer or consumer, I encourage you to remember that you’re dealing in something far more important than meat and money. You’re dealing in your freedom.


Thank You, Hemp Enthusiasts!

Hemp Activists gather for Rural Vermont's "Hemp Happening" event in Middlebury

Hemp Activists gather for Rural Vermont’s “Hemp Happening” event in Middlebury

 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the “Hemp Happening” in Middlebury last week! It was a great success.

Weren’t able to make it? You can read an overview of the evening here,  written by Rural Vermont Organizing Intern Kimberly Voellmann.


Burlington Free Press: Vermont lawmakers consider labels on modified food

March 19, 2014
By Dave Gram
Full Article

MONTPELIER — A Senate panel heard forecasts Wednesday on how well a bill requiring labels on genetically modified foods would hold up in court if the measure becomes law.

Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the threat of a lawsuit by the food or biotech industries looms large in the minds of lawmakers as they consider the bill.

In an interview afterward, Sears said lawmakers have been told it would cost the state attorney general’s office $5 million to $10 million to defend such a law in court. Sears said he would like a provision in the bill ensuring the attorney general has the funds to mount a legal defense. He said the funds could come from public and private sources.

But Laura Murphy, a professor at Vermont Law School’s environmental law clinic, said she believes if the bill becomes law, it would have a good chance of withstanding a challenge in federal court.

Murphy, who said she represents the Vermont Public Interest Research Group on the issue, described various arguments when federal law supersedes state law and how each could be defeated. She said a GMO labeling law could withstand a challenge, for instance, based on the argument that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s bar on restricting interstate commerce.

“The dormant commerce clause is something that sometimes comes up. That’s a doctrine that basically says states can’t pass laws that would unduly interfere with interstate commerce,” Murphy said in an interview. “Basically it comes down to a balancing test. And the question is whether the state’s interest outweighs any potential burden on interstate commerce.”

She said the state has a strong interest in preventing consumer confusion and deception and reducing any potential health risks from genetically modified food. She said a similar balancing test could be used to defeat First Amendment concerns about labeling requirements constituting compelled speech.


Farm & Food Legal Resources

A collection of online, existing legal resources compiled and organized by the Center for Agriculture & Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School. Resources are separated by issues pertaining to farmers & ranchers, consumers, food entrepreneurs, attorneys & advocates, and healthcare professionals.


Randolph Herald LTE: Why Many People Now Choose To Drink Raw Milk

By Robert Luby
Full Article

Dear Editor:

I am writing in respectful rebuttal to Dr. M. Kathleen Shaw’s and the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association’s position on raw milk. I believe a more complete picture of this issue is in order.  What is critically missing from the VVMA’s opinion is a balanced assessment of:  the reasons why consumers choose raw milk and the short term and long term health risks of milk consumption, as well as a relative risk assessment of the consumption of raw milk versus the consumption of other animal products.

The VVMA focused only on the consumer perception that raw milk has health benefits.  It is true that scientific studies have demonstrated that raw milk is protective against the development of asthma and allergic diseases.1, 2   In addition, raw milk from properly raised animals is also full of beneficial bacteria.  Literature in the field of human nutrition is increasingly recognizing the value of eating foods with such beneficial probiotic species.

But there is also a negative reason why people are deciding not to consume conventional pasteurized milk, and this has to do with long term health effects.  While it is relatively straightforward to measure rates of acute food-borne illness which occur shortly after consumption of a particular food, it is not such a simple matter to measure the long term harms of slowly acting substances.  Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that “You are what you eat”.  In the case of conventional milk from conventionally raised animals, it is also the case that “You are what you eat eats”, and “You are what has been sprayed on what you eat eats”, and “You are what has been injected into what you eat”.

The point is that the short-term safety of any animal product depends upon how it is handled and processed.  But the safety of any animal product with regards to long term effects on human health depends upon practices of animal husbandry, an issue truly worthy of championing by an organization such as the VVMA.  Consumers of raw milk are choosing it in large part because of informed decisions based upon the superior animal husbandry practices of the farmers who produce raw milk for human consumption.

Finally, if the VVMA or any organization is concerned about the risks of acute food-borne illness due to the consumption of animal products, it must adequately explain why raw milk has been singled out.  Based on quantitative microbial risk assessment, on a per-serving basis, the risk of food borne illness from chicken is 57 to 1,181 times more likely to cause food-borne illness than unpasteurized milk.3  The consumption of hamburger is 7 to 34 times more likely to cause food-borne illness than unpasteurized milk.4

With the precarious status of the safety of our food supply in mind, (even spinach is 6 to 28 times more likely than raw milk to cause food-borne illness5,6,7), consumers must make difficult choices regarding the short term and long term health consequences of their dietary choices.  Informed professionals such as veterinarians and physicians have an obligation to represent a balanced viewpoint to assist the consumer in this endeavor.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Luby, MD
43 Brookes Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401
802-881-1796

1. O. S. von Ehrenstein, E. et al., Clin. Exp. Allergy 30, 187 (2000).
2. A. H. Wijga, et al., Thorax 58, 567 (2003).3. Uyttendaele, et al., Int J Food Microbiol, 2006, 11(1); 149-163.
4. Cassin, M. et al., Int J Food Microbiol 1998, 4(1); 21-44.
5. Tromp, S.O. et al., J Food Prot 2010, 73(10); 1830-1840.
6. Franz, E. et al., 2010, 73(2); 274-285.                                                                                                       7. Giacommetti, F. et al., 2012, J Food Prot, 75(7); 2363-2369.

Robert Luby, MD, ABHM

Doctor Robert Luby grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and completed his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College in 1985. Columbia University was the site of his MD degree in 1989. Postgraduate training in a family medicine residency program in Seattle, Washington was completed in 1992. Dr. Luby has been board certified in family medicine since 1992, and became board certified in holistic medicine in 2002. He is among the first cohort of physicians to qualify to be certification-eligible in Functional Medicine.  His medical training has included time spent on Native American reservations and in war-torn Guatemala.

For 24 years Dr. Luby has practiced the full scope of family medicine in Latino community health centers in Massachusetts and Washington. Additionally, he has practiced in integrative health centers in Vermont and Massachusetts for over a decade.

Dr. Luby also maintains an active presence in the academic medical community. He is the Director of Outpatient Medicine, the Integrative Medicine area of concentration, and the Associate Director of the Integrative Medicine Fellowship at the Lawrence, Ma. Family Medicine Residency. He holds faculty teaching appointments at Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Vermont schools of medicine.


The State: Vermont lawmaker and farmer pushes for GMO labels

By Chris Adams
March 12, 2014
Full Article

HINESBURG, Vt. — David Zuckerman, an organic farmer and state senator, is a key advocate for ensuring that foods containing genetically modified ingredients be labeled as such.

To him, it’s a basic right-to-know issue: Polls show that consumers want to see such labeling, so there’s no reason to deny them.

“It’s up to the consumer to decide – and they want the choice,” Zuckerman said. Right now, a GMO-labeling bill Zuckerman co-sponsored is in a Vermont Senate committee, and it represents one of the pivotal battlegrounds in the labeling issue.

After ballot defeats in California and Washington state, and nebulous legislative victories in Maine and Connecticut, Vermont represents one of the best chances for pro-labeling advocates to get a clean win. And Zuckerman would be key in helping them get it.

But even if the labeling is eventually mandated, he’s not sure how consumers will respond.

Some will use the labels and choose other products. Some might shrug, once they realize that about 70 percent of processed food contains genetically modified ingredients. Some companies might change the way they source their ingredients so they can say their products are GMO-free.

Zuckerman pointed to General Mills, one of the nation’s largest food manufacturers, which said earlier this year that there was a broad consensus among scientists that “genetically modified foods are safe” but that it still planned to change the way it sources cornstarch and sugar so it can say original Cheerios are GMO-free.

“It was partly a marketing strategy, but it shows that food manufacturers recognize there’s a reasonable percentage of the population that wants that,” Zuckerman said.

The GMO-labeling bill he introduced with several co-sponsors passed out of the Senate’s agriculture committee but still needs to make it through a second Senate committee as well as the full Senate. It faces a host of issues, including whether it would violate companies’ First Amendment rights (he says no) and whether the state would be willing to withstand any expensive legal challenge should the bill pass.

Zuckerman said he thought it could withstand the scrutiny, and he hopes it won’t contain the same kind the trigger that has bottled up legislation in other states. In Maine, for example, a labeling bill passed but goes into effect only if nearby states pass similar legislation.

“The vast majority of people support the idea,” Zuckerman said of the labeling initiative. “Not all people want to consume those foods, at least until we know more.”


Nation of Change: Europe installs raw milk vending machines, while US rules unpasteurized dairy illegal

As the U.S. government continues to issue warnings regarding raw dairy products, several European countries have done just the opposite by expanding access through unpasteurized milk vending machines, according to Wake Up World.

Compared with pasteurized and homogenized dairy, the news source argues that raw milk offers a wealth of nutrition—all without the drawbacks of oxidized fats, denatured proteins, antibiotics or growth hormones typically found in pasteurized and processed milk products.

Given the purported benefits of raw milk, multiple European nations have installed self-service vending machines that provide 24-hour access. Michel Cantaloube, who helped introduce the machines in France, the UK and Spain, hopes to expand the venture into a similar vending machine for raw yogurt.

Other countries like Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands have begun to install their own raw milk vending machines as well.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), tells a different story.

The FDA has listed raw milk’s potential mild to severe effects and issued the following warning:

  • Vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain
  • Flulike symptoms, such as fever, headache and body ache

In response, Wake Up World questioned the FDA’s stance and pointed to a recent study that indicated children who drank raw milk were 40 percent less likely to come down with asthma or allergies.

A Campaign for Real Milk, an advocacy group associated with the Weston A. Price Foundation and Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, agrees, stating raw milk:

  • Protects against infections, diarrhea, rickets, scurvy, tooth decay and tuberculosis
  • Demonstrates better child growth profiles with longer and denser bones
  • Improves vitamin A, B6 and D absorption
  • Enhances mineral assimilation through the presence of lactobacilli
  • Individuals diagnosed with lactose intolerance are often able to consume raw milk products without issue

Moreover, hundreds of testimonials support the value of raw milk in helping childhood behavioral problems, digestive disorders, failure to thrive in infants, arthritis, osteoporosis and cancer.