A bill to allow the sales of raw milk by a farmer to a consumer, which passed the Louisiana Senate on a 23-to-12 vote, has died in a House committee. The Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development killed the bill on a 8-7 vote. It is the third consecutive legislative session that lawmakers have rejected the effort to legalize sales of unpasteurized, raw milk. rawmilkjug_406x250Senate Bill (SB) 29, sponsored by Sen. Eric LaFeur, D-Ville Platte, would have allowed farmers to obtain permits to sell an average of 500 gallons of raw milk per month directly to consumers. Lafleur said his bill was about “freedom of choice.” The bill, however, faced opposition from both state Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and Louisiana’s chief medical officer Jimmy Guidry, who each said HB 29 was a threat to public safety. “Across the United States, less than one percent of the milk is unpasteurized, resulting in 70-percent of the outbreaks and 13 times more hospitalization,” the ag commissioner told Public Radio station WRKF in Baton Rouge. Currently, Louisiana permits raw milk consumption, but not the sales of milk that has not been pasteurization. Commissioner Strains said milk is made 150 times safer through pasteurization. Joy Womack, who runs a dairy that does pasteurize its milk, said raw milk amounts to “plain Russian roulette.” Louisiana dairy farms producing pasteurized milk are inspected by state and federal authorities and maintain liability insurance. Raw milk currently being sold in Louisiana likely comes from nearby Mississippi. There was legislative testimony says some people in the Big Easy state pay upwards of $2,000 for raw milk deliveries from Mississippi. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)