There’s no middle ground when it comes to raw milk, the Hoosier General Assembly was told over the weekend by the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. In a 26-page report with 150 pages of appendixes, the Board of Animal Health fulfilled its obligation to the General Assembly, but it may not have made it easier for Hoosier lawmakers who might have to again consider raw milk policy in 2013. “Both sides of the raw milk debate have sincere, deeply held positions on the issue,” the report says. “No consensus middle ground exists between the public health community that wants no raw milk sales to consumers and advocates who want raw milk sales to consumers.” Indiana is currently one of 20 states banning the commercial sale of raw milk for human consumption. Last year, the General Assembly thought about making changes on its own before punting the issue to the Board of Animal Health for advice. In the Dec. 1 report, the Board says the General Assembly should consider only two options when it comes to making raw milk law. It says: Option A would be to maintain current law, requiring pasteurization of milk prior to sale, but adding language to clarify that all persons producing milk for human consumption must comply with state sanitation standards and pasteurize the milk regardless of the distribution method used, including cow and herd share agreements and products labeled for pet food. Option B would be to amend current law to allow limited distribution of raw milk directly from the farmer producing the milk to consumers, and give the Board of Animal Health the power to establish minimum sanitary requirements to reduce the risk of human illness. If the state moves away from requiring pasteurization of all milk and milk products sold to the public, the board says it should be given rule-making powers, raw milk should be held to the same standards as pasteurized milk and sales should be limited to the producing farm. In many respects, the Indiana report is similar to one issued almost two years ago by a Wisconsin task force that also took the approach of outlining an approach that would not throw out food safety if some raw milk distribution is allowed. Wisconsin, the nation’s No. 1 dairy state, has not made any changes since that report came out. Indiana too is a large dairy state with 1,527 dairy farms, producing 3.4 billion pounds of milk per year making it the 14th largest state in dairy production. It boosts 36 dairy processing plants, and ranks second in production of low-fat ice cream in the U.S. The Board’s report was just released on the state’s website, and there’s not yet been much legislative reaction to it. State Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, told public radio the report confirms that drinking raw milk increases the chance of illness. She represents a 7-county largely rural area. The Indiana General Assembly will convene at 1:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 and continue until April 29, 2013.