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    Whole Foods Hosts Forum on Calif. Fresh Raw Milk Act

    The supernatural chain is flexing its political muscles by advocating a bill that supports the public's right to purchase raw milk.

    Defenders of the right of consumers to drink raw milk rallied at a Whole Foods Market in Venice, Calif. Among the notable raw milk fans expected to attend were Sen. Dean Florez, sponsor of The Fresh Raw Milk Act of 2008 (Senate Bill 201); representatives from two leading raw milk processors; and actor Martin Sheen, “a long-time raw milk drinker.”

    Reasons cited for the bill include the enactment of standards and regulatory protections for greater food safety protections for consumers and promotion of consumer choice in California by keeping raw milk available on store shelves.

    "Raw milk is a small part of our dairy section but is an important choice for many of our shoppers," said Walter Robb, Whole Foods Market co-president and c.o.o. "Senate Bill 201 represents an opportunity for California to set a new standard for the nation while balancing the rigorous demands of public safety, public health, and consumer choice. Additionally, this bill will finally guarantee the future of raw milk and ensure that consumers will continue to have the choice to purchase fresh, high-quality raw milk for their families."

    In other Whole Foods news, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday that the hearing regarding Whole Foods' acquisition of Wild Oats will begin Feb. 16 and last no more than 30 days, according to the FTC. Commissioner Thomas Rosch, who voted in 2007 that the legality of the acquisition warranted investigation, was named by the FTC to oversee the case. He denied a request from Whole Foods that an administrative law judge take his place.

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