Last winter, Garden State Raw Milk — the campaign to legalize the sale of raw milk in New Jersey — was on a roll.   

Before the 2011 New Jersey Assembly began its session, state Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher had said raw milk might be part of the strategy to revive the NJ dairy industry, which has diminished to just 87 farms, down from 3,500 in the 1960s.

Then A743 — a bill to allow the sale of raw milk through a permit process overseen by the Ag Department — came to the floor with a unanimous recommendation from the Ag committee and sailed through the Assembly’s lower house on a vote of 71 to 6, with one abstention. 

On March 21, it was referred to the state senate’s Economic Growth Committee, and there it has remained.

NJ Assembly experts say A743 cannot be considered dead, because no action on the bill in the Senate on means it will be continued into 2012.  The distinction between New Jersey’s two annual legislative sessions is more ceremonial than actual, and only at the end of the second year does all unfinished business expire.

Under the bill, dairies that obtain permits from the state Department of Agriculture could produce, sell and ship raw milk, which would be subject to quality standards and testing.  If approved, the law would not take effect for 180 days to give the Department of Agriculture time to enforce it.

Garden State Raw Milk has advocated that New Jersey enact laws more in line with those in Pennsylvania, where many raw milk dairies currently supply raw milk to NJ residents.

  • Jackie Schmidts

    I’m glad the Senate had the common sense and wisdom to hold this bill up. Raw milk is dangerous, to consume it is like playing Russion Roulette! Click here for the factual information:
    These few dairy farmers that want to expand the sales of raw milk are are only trying to make a fast buck, (actually I think price gouging consumers while at it)at the expense of the safety of their consumers.
    Raw milk should not be available for sale to the general public. Current day milk drinkers have come to rely and know only milk they consume as being pasteurized. If a dairy farmer wants to cash in on the sale of milk to the public, let them buy the necessary equipment to guarantee the best and safest possible product sold.

  • Hi couldn’t disagree with Jackie Schmidts comment more. I believe comments such as these arise from a lack of education on the issue.
    Take a ride over to Birchwood Farm Dairy and sample their healthy, clean safe, nutritious and delicious milk. They and other dairy farmers have been selling their superior milk product to New Jersey customers for years with not one outbreak of sickness.
    The raw milk dairies must pass a rigorous safety testing, of course. But it makes no sense to outlaw real milk. If we are indeed “the land of the free” than I have a right to buy raw milk.
    Did you know that, according to the CDC, over 10,000 million Americans consume raw milk every year? And there have been fewer outbreaks of illness related to raw milk consumption than there have been to those related to pasteurized milk.
    Let’s abolish the Nanny State mentality. Require scrupulous testing yes. But stop strangling New Jersey farmers with unreasonable laws. It is time to legalize raw milk in New Jersey!

  • Doc Mudd

    Oh no, not the tired old “And there have been fewer outbreaks of illness related to raw milk consumption than there have been to those related to pasteurized milk” load of dung again.
    We’ve seen that silly weasle-wording piffle soundly debunked before…
    Time for raw milkies to come up with some new smokescreen to hide behind.

  • Michael Bulger

    There are less than 400 million Americans in the United States, rendering it absolutely impossible for 10,000 million Americans to consume raw milk every year.

  • Ray James

    “Did you know that, according to the CDC, over 10,000 million Americans consume raw milk every year? And there have been fewer outbreaks of illness related to raw milk consumption than there have been to those related to pasteurized milk. ”
    1) I do not think that the number of people drinking raw milk is correct. 2) No matter the number of people who drink raw milk many times more drink pasturized. As in 2 people ate raw crawfish and did not get sick 2 million ate cooked crawfish and 4 people got sick eating the cooked crawfish. Conclusion eating cooked crawfish is dangerous- not. ( do not eat raw crawfish you may get away with it but eventually you will get sick.)3) Pasturization is not magic. If after pasturization the milk is held at inproper temperatures and is contaiminated/exsposed to a pathogin the milk will become unsafe. Pathogins grow well in milk.

  • Jackie Schmidts

    Every week there is news somewhere in the country of people getting very sick from consuming raw milk. This week’s headlines:
    You have a right to buy a cow and drink your raw milk. You don’t have a right to distribute a product (raw cows/goats/sheep milk) that is not safe to consume.
    The rest of us have a right to assume that the product we have been consuming our entire lives, which has been pasteurized is safe. Raw milk is not safe, it shouldn’t be allowed to be sold to the general public. Milk drinkers have come to learn and assume all milk is safe, we don’t know any different. One never should have to ask the question, is this milk safe. Pasteurized dairy products and especially milk are much safer, 99.9999999% of the time. No food product has a 100% safety track record. The same cannot be said of raw milk.
    If you are a dairy farmer, you should want the product you produce to be as safe as it can be before it is consumed. Any decent, responsible dairy farmer will agree.
    I’m starting to think the raw milk pushers have an alternative agenda. You can’t make me believe that you really think raw milk is better than that which has been pasteurized is better in anyway. Who are you people, are you PETA activists? Are you Coke or Pepsi trying to destroy a great industry with your babble?

  • Carl

    Do the math, folks. The Marler article says 23 Billion gallons of milke consumed per year. Raw milk is 3% of that or 724 Million gallons. Over 18 months there were 155 illnesses or about 100 per year. That’s 7 Millions gallons of raw milk consumed per illness. Let’s assume the number is understated by an order of magnitude. That’s one illness per 700,000 gallons of milk. I drink about 20 gallons per year. That’s 1 in 35,000.
    Do I really need to tick off all the trivial things that are more risky than that? Get real, people.
    Young children, the elderly and the immuno-compromised shouldn’t drink any form of milk. For the rest of us, that risk is not even worth wasting our time discussing.
    Doctors kill thousands of people every year. Now that calls for legislation.

  • Jake

    If I want to drink raw milk it’s my choice. I assume the risks and know the potential harm it can do, but I believe that raw milk’s consistent benefits over pasteurized products outweigh the slim chance that some harmful effect will come of it. I trust my farmers and know that they do everything in their power to keep their herds free of disease and as clean as possible, certainly not an accomplishment any dairy farmer producing pasteurized milk can boast of. The concept of an industrialized food system like the one many people buy into today sickens me. It certainly isn’t for me. And I’d like to have the freedom to opt out of it legally in my own state if I so choose.