The Delaware House of Representatives may soon consider a bill to allow the sale of unpasteurized raw milk directly to the final consumer. House Bill (HB) 150 cleared the House Agriculture Committee on June 12, an action that sets up the measure for a floor vote. Delaware currently prohibits such sales and state executives want to keep it that way. HB 150 would create an exception to the current prohibition by allowing sale of unpasteurized milk and milk products only by those persons holding a validly issued “raw milk permit.” Only 12 states allow the sale of raw milk in retail stores, but 18 permit so-called farm sales. The Delaware bill would allow sales on the farm or property where the raw milk is actually produced. Under HB 150, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services would be required to consult with the Department of Agriculture in developing the raw milk program, including rules, regulations and standards necessary to meet both the bill’s objectives and ensure the safety of the general public. “Raw milk is unsafe and a public health risk, and Delaware dairy farmers are not asking to sell it,” Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee said. “They understand the substantial benefits of pasteurization and the danger that raw milk holds, especially for children. We look forward to continuing this discussion and sharing our concerns, which are also held by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Farm Bureau Federation.” Kee said raw milk could contain E. coli, Listeria, or Salmonella bacteria, causing abdominal illnesses and hospitalization. Delaware has 50 dairies and none have indicated a desire to produce milk without pasteurization. Raw milk advocates say raw milk provides more positive health benefits than negative ones. Also neighboring Pennsylvania permits raw milk sales, helping create demand. A 2012 outbreak associated with raw milk sales in Pennsylvania sickened 43 people, including 4 in Maryland. A raw milk dairy operated by Pennsylvanian Daniel Allgyer was ordered by a federal judge to step selling to out-of-state residents. The Delaware Alliance for Raw Milk is lobbying for passage of HB 150. Chad Snader, a member of the group, says drinking raw milk is a personal choice. He calls it “nectar from a mother to a child.”