Gamblers in Las Vegas taking advantage of all those free drink offers might soon be ordering up a nice cold glass of raw milk.
With only two dissenting votes Thursday afternoon, the Nevada Senate’s Committee on Health and Human Services gave a “do pass” recommendation to Assembly Bill (AB) 209, making raw milk sales legal statewide. AB 209’s next stop will likely be a vote by the full Senate before it adjourns on June 3. It already passed the Assembly on a unanimous vote on April 22.
While permitting raw milk sales “anywhere in the state,” the Nevada raw milk bill is clearly aimed the Las Vegas market. AB 209 is the last piece of the puzzle needed by a Nye County dairy to be completed in order to begin producing raw milk intended for the metro area.
Nye County last year established a county milk commission to regulate Amargosa Creamery as it moved into the production of raw milk and raw milk products. Existing state law allows “certified” raw milk to be sold anywhere in the state, but raw milk produced under the authority of a county milk commission can only be sold in that county.
As currently drafted, AB 209 permits Nye County-produced raw milk and raw milk products to be sold anywhere in the state. But raw milk produced in California will no longer be able to be sold in Nevada.
Organic Pastures, the nation’s largest raw milk producer located in northern California, used to sell products in the Reno/Lake Tahoe market. OP agreed to stop at the behest of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which bans interstate sales of raw milk.
While Nevada lawmakers are mostly going along with the plan to open Las Vegas to Nye County’s raw milk, some do have doubts. State Sen. Debbie Smith (D-Sparks) said she could not bring herself to vote for a bill that’s opposed by the Nevada state health officer.
State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno) said he recognizes the potential health risks, but thinks it is best to go forward with the regulatory structure for raw milk that is contained in AB 209. The bill requires labeling, daily testing and liability insurance and imposes a fee structure.
In April 2012, the Nye County dairy announced a raw milk business plan that it said would initially involve ten milk cows, with the potential to expand to up to 60. Nye County is located immediately north of Vegas.© Food Safety News