- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Many raw milk consumers are opposing new dairy standards that take effect this week in California, saying they could outlaw some of their preferred products.

The new law does not create an outright ban on raw milk, but producers think it could dry up supplies by setting new bacteria limits that they say are difficult to meet.

Mark McAfee is founder of Fresno-based Organic Pastures Dairy Company, the larger of two raw milk producers in California. He said consumers “are fed up with the government being in their kitchens, and they want to be able to make their independent choices about food they want to eat.”

State officials, however, say producers should be able to meet the standards, which they say are necessary for consumer safety.

The new standards, which took effect yesterday, set a limit of no more than 10 coliforms per milliliter. Coliforms are a group of bacteria commonly found in the environment, most of which do not cause disease. Pasteurization, in which milk is heated, kills many bacteria, which are still alive in raw milk.

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