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Legislature Studies Legalization Of Raw Milk Sales

Selling raw milk for human consumption is illegal in Indiana, but a committee is studying the law further this summer.

raw milk

Photo: Gretchen Frazee/Indiana Public Media News

Luke Rhodes pulls out two containers of raw milk to give to customers who participate in his cow share program.

This summer, the state Board of Animal Health will prepare a report for the General Assembly on the pros and cons of legalizing the sale of raw milk, and it’s now asking for the public to weigh in.

The sale of raw milk is currently banned in Indiana. Lawmakers did propose a bill this past session that would have overturned that rule. It stalled, but legislators are asking for more information because it seems likely they will ultimately have to decide whether to allow raw milk to be sold.

Board of Animal Health spokesperson Denise Derrer says the report her agency is preparing will include information intended for that possibility.

“If they decide to do that, how should that be done?  What should that type of a rule look like?  If they decide to allow it, what should be some of the guidelines that go forth that we can provide to the legislature to make sure that it’s done in an appropriate way?” she says.

The Board of Animal Health is also opening up a virtual forum on its website where citizens can weigh in.

Oldenburg Republican Senator Jean Leising has opposed legalizing raw milk sales.  She says she’s concerned about the public health implications. And even if the public seems overwhelmingly in favor of selling it, she says it is unlikely she will change her opinion.

“I don’t think I personally could support it unless the Board of Animal Health and the Department of Public Health actually came out publicly supporting it, that they felt comfortable,” Leising says.

Leising says if the legislature decides to allow the sale of raw milk, some safety standards and minimal testing would have to be part of that move. The raw milk online public forum is open from June first through September first.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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