With three years of experience in the information wars over raw milk under its belt, a largely academic group has decided to enter the legislative area with its own 12-page “Raw Milk Legislation Packet.”
Real Raw Milk Facts, a group that grew out of meetings sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the International Association for Food Protection, published the guide as part of their mission to counter the growing popularity of drinking unpasteurized, unprocessed milk by giving consumers information about the potential risks.
The policy recommendations were drawn from the literature and information provided by the Real Raw Milk Facts website, which is run by a working group comprising scientists and public health advocates around the country.
The group founded the web-based clearinghouse for factual raw milk information. It is sponsored in part by the nationally-known food safety law firm of Marler Clark, which publishes Food Safety News.
Now the group of veterinarians and food experts is stepping into offering policy recommendations to state lawmakers. It recommends that states:
-Prohibit raw milk sales in retail grocery stores and across state lines. to help mitigate the risks involved in mass production and in transportation.
-Require farms to carry enough insurance to cover reasonable damages to customers.
-Require that raw milk products and the point-of-purchase area carry warning labels and signs.
-Regulate Colostrum, the first lacteal secretion produced before the production of milk, as a dairy product, not a nutritional supplement.
-Ban acquiring raw milk or colostrum from unlicensed farms, meaning those not licensed for production of products such as raw butter and cheese.
In its policy statement, Real Raw Milk Facts says that retail sales of raw milk raise the threat of a “casual purchase” by someone unaware of the risks involved.
“The evidence shows that pasteurized dairy products are safer than raw dairy products, and children are the most at risk from contaminated raw milk,” the policy statement says. “We recommend pasteurized dairy products from consumers and their families.”
According to the group, 33 states either ban raw milk sales entirely or limit them to the farm. In 12 other states, sales are permitted in on-the-farm retail stores. Five other states allow limited off-the-farm sales of raw milk such as at farmer’s markets.
Most state legislatures are adjourned for the year. On orders from the Indiana General Assembly, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) is conducting an interim study of raw milk.
For the study, Indiana is conducting a “virtual public hearing” through Sept. 1 on whether the sale of raw milk should be permitted in the Hoosier State. BOAH’s deadline for submitting its report to the Indiana General Assembly is Dec. 1.
A raw milk bill is technically still alive in the New Jersey General Assembly, but it’s had no movement in months. New Jersey lawmakers are in session year round.© Food Safety News