Bills to allow the retail sales of raw milk have been referred to committees in the Texas Legislature.
No meetings or hearings have been scheduled on either HB 75, referred to the House Public Health Committee, nor SB 237, which was sent to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
While no legislative action is scheduled, raw milk will be one focus of a rally Monday (Feb. 21) organized for Austin by the Cameron, TX-based Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA).
HB 75 and SB 237, sponsored by Republican Rep. Dan Flynn and Sen. Bob Deuell, respectively, would if enacted expand the sales of raw milk in the Lone Star State.
Sales could occur at the permit holder’s place of business, the consumer’s residence, or “any other location where producers customarily sell their products directly to consumers including a farmers’ market, farm stand, flea market, food cooperative or fair.”
Texas currently allows the sale of Grade A raw milk on the farm only.
FARFA says it represents “independent farmers and ranchers” who are “targeted for ever-more burdensome regulations.” Among those regulations is the Texas State Health Department’s ban on off-farm sales of raw milk.
Texas is among a handful of states considering legislation to expand the production and sale of raw or unpasteurized milk. A New Jersey bill cleared the Garden State’s House Agriculture Committee on a 4-0 vote last week.
Other states considering bills include such public health leaders as Oregon and Minnesota, and the dairy state of Wisconsin. Massachusetts is also looking at loosening its raw milk regulations.
A Wyoming legislative committee, however, blocked an attempt to expand raw milk sales in the Cowboy State.