Raw milk dairy farmers in California have lost the restraining order that has been preventing the 10 coliform limit from taking effect:
A Superior Court judge said Friday that the state had a rational basis for creating legislation that imposes a higher safety standard for California’s two raw milk producers.
The two dairy operators — Organic Pastures of Fresno County and Claravale Farms of San Benito County — are battling to try to stop the state from enforcing the law that took effect last year, saying it will put them out of business.
The new law has been on hold since March, when Superior Court Judge Harry Tobias suspended it to hear arguments over whether to issue a preliminary injunction. Friday, the judge sided with the state.
Last month, two scientists testifying on behalf of the dairies argued that the new standard is unnecessary and that raw milk naturally contains helpful bacteria that neutralize bad bacteria.
But on Friday, the state presented its own experts who countered the dairy supporters, saying the new standard is designed to protect the public from food-related illness.
A rational basis standard is easy to meet, so this isn’t a very surprising ruling. The dairies could still win on appeal and will continue working with Dean Florez to introduce replacement legislation that allows a higher coliform count in exchange for additional safety standards.
California’s fight over raw milk standards was a major topic in my article for Reason.