Ark Senate sends bill to allow raw milk sales to governor, and North Carolina pushing for raw milk

April 10th, 2013. Senate sends bill to allow raw milk sales to governor. John Lyon and Rob Moritz, Arkansas News Bureau.

“Dairies in Arkansas could begin selling unpasteurized milk if a bill that won final legislative approval Wednesday in the Senate becomes law.

By a 19-11 vote, the Senate passed House Bill 1536, which would allow Arkansas milk producers to sell up to 500 gallons of raw milk a month at their facilities.

“This bill simply gives the farmer the freedom, the right, to sell milk from his cow to someone who wants to buy it,” said Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, who presented the bill on the Senate floor.

He said more than 30 states have laws allowing for the sale of unpasteurized milk.

The bill by Rep. Randy Alexander, R-Fayetteville, has no requirement for state health inspections but does require dairies that sell unpasteurized milk to display warnings at the point of sale and on milk containers informing consumers that the milk has not been pasteurized and that the milk and the farm have not been inspected by the state.

The state Health Department opposes the measure, which it says could expose consumers to dangerous pathogens. Supporters say duly warned adults who want raw milk should be able to buy it from producers that want to sell it.

Sen. David Burnett, D-Osceola, expressed concern about there not being any inspections on the milk to be sure it’s safe. A former prosecutor and circuit court judge, Burnett also suggested the farmer who sells the milk could be liable if someone becomes ill after drinking the milk.

The bill, which passed the House by 60-19 last week, now goes to the governor.”


April 10th, 2013. Bill filed to allow raw milk sales. Mark Binker,

“North Carolina residents would be able to buy raw, unpasteurized milk under a bill filed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The measure was filed by Reps. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance, Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, and Jo Sam Queen, D-Haywood. It would allow residents to buy shares in a lactating animal in order to obtain its unpasteurized milk.

Raw milk can be sold in North Carolina but only for animal feed and only if marked and dyed in order to discourage human consumption.

However, some natural food advocates extol what they see as the health benefits of not subjecting milk to pasteurization. They have pushed for a number of raw milk legalization measures over the past decade, none of which have passed.

“It became an interest to me when a Christian ministry I represent in Alamance County asked me about it,” Riddle said. The ministry wanted to train missionaries to keep live animals and use their milk. Health officials, he said, told them they could not.

That initial spark lead to more research he said.

“It’s about the only food I can think of that’s illegal,” Riddle said. Some people grew up drinking raw milk and like it, he said. Other simply like it better or think it’s healthier. His bill, Riddle said, would simply give them to choice of what to consume.

Health and agriculture officials warn that choice is risky.

“There’s a lot of evidence that raw milk can be dangerous,” said Brian Long, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He said the department has not seen the bill filed Wednesday but said generally the department has supported the existing ban on the consumption of raw milk.

“I’m not choosing a fight with the Department of Agriculture,” Riddle said. But he pointed out that farmers are allowed to consume raw milk collected on their farms. “If we’re concerned about health, aren’t we concerned about the farmers’ health?”


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