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Gov. Walker open to legalizing raw milk sales

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker is open to letting Wisconsin farmers sell raw milk -- if the dairy and medical industries end their stiff opposition to it. 

The Republican Walker commented on the issue Monday, when the Senate Rural Issues committee held a public hearing in La Crosse on letting farmers sell unpasteurized milk directly to customers. 

A similar hearing was held in Madison last week. 

Walker said he'd listen to the dairy industry and public health professionals -- and if they believe that consumer safety can be guaranteed, he'd approve the measure. 

Jim Mulhern of the National Milk Producers Federation says there's no way that would happen. He said it's disheartening that Wisconsin is even considering a bill which he says would "damage public health." 

Shawn Pfaff of the industry's Safe Milk Coalition says his group opposes any new raw milk legislation -- and science does not allow them to compromise. 

Trempealeau Democrat Chris Danou, who's sponsoring the raw milk bill in the Assembly, says the proposal basically reflects what's already happening. He says there's a black market out there -- and it's not a good idea to keep it unregulated. 

Supporters say 8 of the nation's 10 top dairy producing states, including California, allow sales of unpasteurized milk. West Bend Republican Glenn Grothman is the chief sponsor of the Senate version.