South Dakota is not much of a market for raw milk.  South Dakotans won’t be found at some “whole paycheck’ store, shelling out $15 a gallon for what’s trendy in California.  “Very few” of the state’s 400 dairies sell raw milk.

So, it was a surprise when South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Bill Even opted to pull proposed raw milk safety regulations for more study.   Even an attorney named to the post two years ago by SD Gov. Mike Rounds, says he wants more time to discuss the regulations “with those who produce and consume raw milk.”

South Dakota held a Nov. 17 public hearing on the proposed changes Even has now shelved.  The state currently requires inspections and permits for dairies that peddle raw milk.  Additions to the rules would have:

  • Prohibited capping bottles by hand.
  • Prohibited bottling in the same building where cows are milked.
  • Required twice yearly testing for tuberculosis and brucellosis.
  • Required maintaining customer lists with names, contact information and quantities of raw milk sold, and make them available to the Agriculture Department upon request.
  • Require testing for coliform with a maximum permissible level of 10 per milliliter.

The Rapid City Journal reported the raw milk dairies objected most to the semi-annual tuberculosis and brucellosis testing. But they also did not like the requirements, for machine bottling, separate structures, and maintaining customer lists.

Like most states, South Dakota has its own history of raw milk and cheese outbreaks as the unpasteurized dairy products frequently make people sick from pathogens like Salmonella and Campylobacter.   In 1994, an outbreak linked to cheese made with raw milk sickened 58 South Dakotans.

Nevertheless, raw milk advocates said the proposed South Dakota rules were burdensome and unfair.  Even has told the SD Legislature’s Interim Rules Committee he will get back to them.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Wyoming, officials warned residents that it is illegal to sell or buy raw milk in the Cowboy State.  The “cow shares” scam is sometimes used in Wyoming in an attempt to evade the law.

  • I’m confused, I thought the debate was about raw goats milk but the writer of this piece makes it look like its about cows milk.
    In fact I haven’t seen goats milk mentioned in any news article concerning this raw milk debate.
    Am I off base with the raw goats milk thing?

  • Dear sir,
    In CA raw milk is not a trend. It has always been legal and always been available in retail markets for the last 130 years.
    1850 dairies produce milk in CA…not 400 like you have stated.
    Currently, CA has at least two dairies that produce state inspected and regulated raw milk. At least 65,000 people per week joyously and thankfully purchase this very clean raw milk from 400 retail stores.
    The reason we have pastuerized milk is because this permits loose standards, commingling of multiple dairies combined together in the milk tank and pathogens in milk, extended shelf life and zero responsibility ( and zero money as well ) for the milk produced.Basically dirty dead milk. This dirty dead milk then goes on to cause lactose intolerance.
    Raw milk is not associated with lactose intolerance.
    Please double check your data when writing about raw milk.
    I am always available for your assistance and accuracy of data.
    All the best,
    Mark McAfee
    Founder Organic Pastures Dairy
    Fresno CA
    1-877 RAW MILK

  • Dana Schultz

    FYI: My husband & I are wintering in So. CAL & yes, we pay $14.50 a gallon of raw milk,(hold onto your socks!) $11.59 a pint of raw cream,& $5.39 for 8 oz. raw butter; but that is our choice & we want that right. Do contact me so I can share with you the “whys” we want the right to raw dairy & organic foods. We live in WI & are involved in supporting state legislation to legalize the sale of raw dairy products at WI farms. Fortunately, our adult children have relocated to California…raw dairy products do go on sale here! Consumer products might be pricier in CA but the amenities of living here far outweigh & the state is a fine example of promoting healthy lifestyles. What’s trendy about CA?…you must mean Hollywood & the stars & movie industry. We are not financially wealthy, but we choose to spend our money wisely & raw dairy products & organic food are high on our list, and supporting Hollywood is not. In fact, our aim is to live fully organic, clothing & household furnishings included. And, your perception of Whole Foods is false. We are grateful for any entrepreneur that makes available organics & supports a clean world. Signed, Dana Schultz, Elm Grove, WI

  • Paula

    I know this will not be taken well but I don’t see why the uproar on regalation for Raw Milk. Not only do I purchase and enjoy the taste of Raw Milk but I also tell friends and family about the benefits and good taste. I rest easier knowing that the Raw Milk was properly packaged then to be stressed if I am going to get sick because someone thought it unfair to “•Required twice yearly testing for tuberculosis and brucellosis.” Better standards means resting easier and peace of mind for myself and my family.