April 25, 2011
QUESTIONS FOR MILK REGULATION BOARD NOMINEES
By: Janet L. Kaminski Leduc, Senior Legislative Attorney
MILK REGULATION BOARD (CGS §§ 22-131 AND 22-133)
The Milk Regulation Board must adopt regulations to ensure milk produced in the state is of at least standard quality and that state residents have an adequate and regular supply of it. The board may, by regulation, establish inspection standards for the facilities and processes necessary for producing, handling, storing, and manufacturing retail raw milk, retail raw milk cheese, butter, cheese, dry milk, whey, concentrated milk, condensed milk, single service fluid milk enclosures, and milk products.
In exercising its authority, the board must consider the (1) welfare of the milk producer, milk dealer, and consuming public; (2) need to maintain a constant and adequate supply of fluid milk of at least standard quality; and (3) recommended methods promulgated by recognized authorities for producing, handling, and transporting fluid milk and milk products, and additional methods for producing, handling, and transporting milk and milk products, among other things.
The board consists of two members actively engaged in milk processing, two actively engaged in selling and distributing milk, two actively engaged in producing milk, and two who have no active or financial interest in producing milk. The governor appoints all eight members. The public health commissioner, or his designee, and the agriculture commissioner are also board members.
1. Some argue that grocery stores reap unfair profits on milk, while dairy farmers are occasionally pushed to the verge of bankruptcy by the price they are paid for milk. What can the board do to ensure that grocery stores and other retailers are not taking advantage of consumers while dairy farmers struggle?
2. Is the supply of milk in Connecticut of at least standard quality? Is there an adequate and regular supply?
3. Is the state properly protected from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (“mad cow” disease)?
4. Cows may be treated with several antibiotics; milk is tested for a few. How would you decide what to test for in milk?
5. Public Act 09-229 created a grant program for milk producers by temporarily increasing, from $30 to $40, the fee people pay when recording documents with town clerks (“recording fee”). Can you comment on the effectiveness of this program? Do you support making it permanent, as proposed by sHB 6262 (2011)?
6. Aside from dairy farm viability (i.e., milk pricing), what other challenges does the state face regarding maintaining a safe and adequate milk supply?