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Indiana May Soon Publish Raw Milk Safety Standards

Indiana may shortly join Wisconsin in adopting standards set by an influential advisory group that may be imposed if the state ever opts to make raw milk legal.

The Indiana Board of Animal Health (IBOAH) has until December 1 to give the Indiana Assembly recommendations on the future of raw milk policy in the Hoosier State.

In a virtual public hearing conducted between June 1 and September 1, IBOAH collected more than 600 comments favoring raw milk sales in the state.

Since the virtual public hearing ended, IBOAH has decided to share the report requested by the Indiana Legislature with the Governor. And because there is strong support for raw milk in Indiana, IBOAH’s report is now likely to include a “Plan B.”

Like the Wisconsin Report of the Raw Milk Policy Working Group, Indiana’s “Plan B” is likely to include standards that the influential IBOAH wants adopted if raw milk is ever sold commercially in Indiana.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle in 2010 vetoed a bill making raw milk sales legal, and then appoint the working group to study the issue. That group’s report came in March 2011.

It recommended that a package of standards be imposed on raw milk dairies as a replacement or substitute for pasteurization.

“There is no tool as effective as pasteurization in killing the harmful bacteria that can contaminate milk,” said the Wisconsin working group.

“We’re basically creating a plan B, and submitting to legislators to tell them. If you decide to legalize the sale of raw milk, here is the way we think it should happen, to offer the best benefit for folks as far as public health goes,’” says BOAH spokeswoman Denise Derrer.

Wisconsin came up with a specific recipe for making raw milk sales safer. Elements the Wisconsin group says must be included to make raw milk safer included:

- Testing for disease

- Testing for standard plate count

- Testing for somatic cell count

- Testing for coliform bacteria in well water

- Testing for antibiotic drug residues

- Testing for pathogenic bacteria

In addition, Wisconsin calls for on-farm sampling, in addition to incident repines plans and labels for raw milk containers. Containers would have to have caps and labels marking raw milk containers.

The Wisconsin working group said its raw milk farm standards should be met before the dairy farm could obtain a raw milk farm permit.

Like Wisconsin, Indiana earlier this year came close to making law milk legal before opting to go for an outside advisory report. At its start, the Wisconsin working group agreed that the top concern of state dairy farmers should always be consumer health.

Indiana is the 14th largest dairy state when ranked by milk production. (Wisconsin is 2nd to California when ranked by milk production and No. 1 when ranked by the value of all dairy products sold).

IBOAH has enlisted an advisory panel to draft its report, and dairy farmer LuAnn Troxel, president of the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers is one of the members. She says public health is her main concern.

Since Wisconsin raw milk safety regulations were adopted by the working group, no raw milk bill has made progress towards adoption in Madison.

© Food Safety News
  • Paul

    “…if the state ever opts to make raw milk legal.”
    I’m not certain when the Indiana statues were written outlawing raw milk in Indiana, but “ever” before then raw milk was sold there. Perhaps you meant to say “ever AGAIN.”
    Anyway, thanks for the update article!

  • bachcole

    Of course, these standards may be too expensive for many farmers who are already selling safe raw milk below the radar. Is this “Plan B” a real, health oriented compromise, or is it just another attempt by big dairies to get rid of the competition? Skeptical minds want to know.

  • http://www.foodsafetyanalysis.com/introduction M. “Mike” Mychajlonka, Ph. D.

    Perhaps this question has already been answered elsewhere. If so, I haven’t heard about it and would appreciate an update. I am well aware that HTST (High Temperature, Short Time) Pasteurization tends to destroy the intrinsic flavor of raw milk. I have not heard what High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP) does to the organoleptic properties of raw milk. Does anyone know if the application of an alternative Pasteurization process could be the simple solution to this controversy?

  • A

    GOVT to CITIZEN: “You want to do something?”
    CITIZEN: “Yes.”
    GOVT: “I must be involved, HEAVILY involved. You are not allowed to do ANYTHING without my involvement.”
    This isn’t about raw milk or public health. It is about government finding another way to weasel its way into our private lives. If we want to sell raw milk, government will require we register with them (fee required, of course) and sign away our rights (if someone gets sick –guess who is automatically guilty?)
    I’m so glad I have my own source of milk (real, raw, fresh milk). I feel sorry for those who don’t.

  • Minkpuppy

    Huh. No mention whatsoever about standards for the physical condition of the farm or sanitation in the milking parlor, both of which contribute to the pathogen loads in the milk. That’s just for starters. I could add employee hygiene, pest control etc. and so on…
    There’s so many little things that can go wrong with the handling of ANY food. The raw milk dairies that want to play by the rules are going to need a lot more help and guidance that this sketchy outline if they’re going to be expected to produce a product that’s considered as safe as pastuerized.

  • bachcole

    A, you are so right. Milk is merely the tip of the iceberg.

  • Guest-M

    I won’t likely buy any commercially available raw milk. I’ll stick with my small farm raw milk. They’re going to test the wazoo out of it and don’t address the issues that started pasteurization in the first place (filthy conditions, lazy feeding…)