Report of the Michigan Fresh Unprocessed Whole Milk Workgroup

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The REPORT of the Michigan Fresh Unprocessed Whole Milk Workgroup is a 90-page comprehensive, objective document that contains clear and factual information about fresh milk. The REPORT is the product of a group of dairy farmers, producers, consumers, scholars and food-safety regulators who met monthly for six years to share their knowledge and experiences with milk. They formulated a list of questions, then researched and discussed them.

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Description

The REPORT from the Michigan workgroup is a comprehensive, objective and easily accessible reference document. It will be valuable for anyone seeking clear and factual information about the properties of fresh milk.

In 2006, the Michigan Department of Agriculture (now MDA and Rural Development) initiated legal action against a food cooperative for, among other thing, the distribution of unpasteurized milk and milk products. As a result, the MDARD, in cooperation with Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) and Michigan State University (MSU) organized a workgroup of dairy farmers, producers, consumers, scholars, and food safety regulators to discuss the contentious issues that followed the incidents. They met monthly for six years to share their knowledge and experience about milk.

PURPOSE: Address the question: “Where do we want to be in 3 to 5 years on access to fresh unprocessed whole milk?

GOAL: The group desires clear direction with clear public policy regarding access to fresh unprocessed whole milk and adjusting the law accordingly, if needed.

The workgroup first defined a series of questions, which they then researched and discussed.

The questions include:

  • Is there something uniquely hazardous about milk?
  • What is the nutritional value of milk?
  • What is the impact of pasteurization on Fresh Unprocessed Whole (FUW) milk’s value?
  • What is the impact of homogenization on FUW milk’s value?
  • Initially, what were the conditions that prompted pasteurization for milk? Have those conditions, knowledge and understanding changed today?
  • Assuming that not all milk is the same—what do production and management practices have to do with FUW milk’s nutritional values, pathogens, color and taste, etc.?
  • What is the impact of consumer preferences on production/management practices of FUW milk?

The Report contains Discussion Summaries that are organized into Five Topics:

  • History of FUW Milk
  • Benefits & Values;
  • Risks;
  • Risk & Benefit Management and
  • Consumer Choice Options

The book includes references and resources for more information and the Workgroup’s recommendation to the MDARD Director.

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