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Hearing Set for Texas Raw Milk Bill

The Lone Star State will conduct a hearing Wednesday in Austin on a bill to ease regulations for the sale of unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized milk products.

House Bill 75, sponsored by Republican Rep. Dan Flynn (no relation), was introduced last Nov. 8 and referred to the Texas House Public Health Committee on Feb. 9.

Senate Bill 237 is the companion bill in the Texas upper chamber.

HB 75 will be the first of a long list of bills up for a public hearing before the Public Health Committee on Wednesday.  Individual testimony is limited to three minutes.

Two other food-related bills will follow the raw milk measure on the hearing agenda.  HB 1139 would permit home sales of cottage foods, which are defined as baked goods, canned jams or jellies, dried fruit, candies, snack food, cereal, granola, dry mix, vinegar or dried herbs.

HB 2084 limits and prohibits certain fees, including those on cottage food sales.

The Texas raw milk law could change next Sept. 1 under HB 75.   It provides that a person holding a permit authorizing the sale of raw milk or raw milk products may sell at the retail level directly to consumers within the state.

Sales could occur at the permit holder’s place of business, a consumer’s residence, or any other location where sales are customarily made, including farmers’ markets, farm stands, flea markets, food cooperative and fairs.

Texas currently allows the sale of Grade A raw milk only on the farm where it was produced.

The Texas raw milk bill was one of the measures getting support last Feb. 21 from the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA).  The Cameron, TX-based FARFA says it represents “independent farmers and ranchers” who have been “targeted for ever-more burdensome regulations.”  

Numerous bills to liberalize raw milk sales within states have been introduced this year, but most have stalled.  Most state legislatures are in session for about another month.

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