Vermont Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross will not weigh in on raw milk issues due to a potential conflict of interest.
Ross' family owns land and a barn in Hinesburg that they rent to people who produce raw milk. The state regulates raw milk sales, saying that because it is not pasteurized it could contain harmful bacteria like E. coli or salmonella.
Ross initially told WCAX News there was no conflict, but Friday said he will no longer oversee raw milk policy discussions.
"We don't want the congenial relationship with my family and the tenants to be a distraction. We've decided it would be best to recuse myself from the raw milk conversation and have Diane Bothfeld, the deputy agriculture secretary, be the point person on that for the agency," Ross said.
Agriculture Agency officials are looking into a raw milk class taught by Rural Vermont saying it goes too far because they promote using raw milk for making other things like cheese. Rural Vermont suspended the classes.
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