Tyson Foods’ recent agreement to settle a lawsuit for falsely advertising its “raised without antibiotics” chicken brand has received limited media coverage – no doubt to the relief of the company’s boardroom. And with an annual turnover of nearly $27 billion, they probably won’t sweat too much over the $5 million that the company must now shell out as compensation to unhappy customers. In falsely marketing its chicken meat as produced from birds “raised without antibiotics” while still feeding them antibiotics, Tyson Foods was shamelessly exploiting the growing public concern over the excessive use of antibiotics in industrial farming, particularly in the form of non-therapeutic growth promoters. But while the intensive meat industry continues to vigorously oppose any attempts to reduce antibiotic use in farming, the irony is that Tyson Foods may well have inadvertently shot itself in the foot by publicly admitting that the overuse of certain antibiotics in industrial farming really is a threat to human health.
The first Vermont dairy recently passed its state certification to legally sell up to 40 gallons of raw milk per day. The certification is being given in two tiers—Tier 1 farms are only allowed to sell up to 50 quarts of milk per day and they do not have to be inspected or have their milk tested. Farms that wish to sell 40 gallons or more must be Tier 2 certified and both inspection and twice monthly milk testing is required. You may want to read the full list of legal requirements under Vermont’s Legislative Act 62 and as outlined in Rural Vermont’s Raw Milk Sellers Guide.
This state certification is a small hurdle for dairy farmers, who by selling raw milk directly to consumers, could potentially increase their profits by an additional $4 – $11 per gallon. This price increase would be a great boon for dairy farmers who when they sell their milk wholesale, according to FarmAid.org, are only getting $9 for every 11.8 gallons of milk they produce and are losing $200 per cow every month (For more details visit Farm Aid’s link Dairy: Family Farmers in Crisis.)
This type of state legislation is a victory for both farmers and consumers. Dairy farmers in Vermont now have the ability to get a fair price for the milk they produce and consumers are given the option to actually purchase the milk products they prefer. Consumers interested in buying raw milk in Vermont should visit www.RuralVermont.org and take a look at its consumer fact sheet.