Real Raw Milk Facts

Wisconsin: Final Report Of The Raw Milk Policy Working Group

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATPC) posted the final report from the Raw Milk Policy Working Group on their website.

Download the pdf file here.

The Raw Milk Policy Working Group was a panel of 22 members representing a wide array of stakeholders and experts in Wisconsin’s dairy industry, appointed by then-Sec. Rod Nilsestuen in January 2010. The group met March through December of 2010.

The group’s purpose was to consider whether there are legal, regulatory means that might allow dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized fluid raw milk directly to consumers; if so, what conditions would be necessary to protect public health? All meetings were open to the public for observation, but they were not public hearings.


Dick Barrows, Chair

Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and UW-Extension, retired

James Baerwolf

Dairy farmer, Sassy Cow Creamery farmstead dairy plant, Columbus

Dick Cates

Director of UW-Madison School for Beginning Dairy Farmers; member, Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection;beef grazier/direct marketer, Spring Green

Jeff Davis, MD

State epidemiologist, Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Patty Edelburg

Dairy farmer, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Scandinavia

Ted Galloway

Dairy processor, Galloway Co., Neenah

Mike Gingrich

Dairy farmer, Uplands Cheese Co. farmstead dairy plant, Dodgeville

Dale Grosskurth

Director, Marathon County Environmental Health Program

Melissa Hughes

General counsel, Organic Valley Cooperative, La Farge

Vince Hundt

Certified organic dairy and beef farmer, St. Brigids Meadows, Coon Valley

Kevin Krentz

Dairy farmer, president of Waushara County Farm Bureau, Berlin

Brad Legreid

Executive director, Wisconsin Dairy Products Association, Madison

Willi Lehner

Cheesemaker, Bleu Mont Dairy, Blue Mounds

Shelly Mayer

Dairy farmer, executive director of Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Slinger

Amy McCauley

Organic dairy farmer, Reedsburg

Joe Plasterer

Raw milk consumer, Madison

Scott Rankin, Ph.D.

Professor, UW-Extension and UW-Madison, Department of Food Science

Pam Ruegg, DVM

Professor, UW-Extension and UW-Madison, Department of Dairy Science

Steve Steinhoff

Former administrator, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Food Safety Division, retired

Joe Weis

Vice-president of Foremost Farms USA, Baraboo

Jeff Wideman

Maple Leaf Cheese, Wisconsin master cheesemaker, Green County

Mark Zinniker

Dairy farmer, Elkhorn

Current law

A Wisconsin statute says that only Grade A milk and milk products can be sold or distributed to consumers or to restaurants, institutions or retailers. The law also says that Grade A milk and milk products must be pasteurized. It does allow that “incidental sales” to consumers at the dairy farm where the milk is produced.

Often the agencies responsible for enforcing the statutes that the Legislature makes write “administrative rules” that lay out in more detail exactly what the law says. Before they take effect, there are public hearings on administrative rules and the Legislature must approve them. In the case of the raw milk prohibition, administrative rules specify to whom raw milk can be distributed:

The milk producer who holds the dairy farm licenseAn individual with a bona fide ownership interest in the farmA family member or nonpaying guest who consumes the milk at the home of the producer or bona fide owner

The administrative rule also defines incidental sales: a sale is not incidental if it is the regular course of business, or if there is any advertising to the general public through any media.

Read the statute here. (See 97.24)

Read the administrative rule here. (See 60.235)

Real Life Dangers of Raw Milk

Several families offered to share their stories on video to help raise awareness about the potential risks and negative effects on health from drinking contaminated raw milk.

Real Life Stories