Hoosiers want access to raw milk. That’s the preliminary finding of an online public forum conducted by the State Board of Animal Health.
The board’s public information director Denise Derrer says a majority of more than 600 responses to the board’s website favor of the legalization of the sale of raw milk. After analyzing responses, Derrer says an advisory board will draft a proposal for the governor and state legislature to consider.
“We’re basically creating a plan B, and submitting to legislators to tell them ‘If you decide to legalize the sale of raw milk, here is the way we think it should happen, to offer the best benefit for folks as far as public health goes,’” Derrer said.
One member of the advisory board is LuAnn Troxel, a dairy farmer with 120 cows. Troxel is also the President of the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers. While she is excited by the increased interest in milk consumption, she says public health is still her main concern.
“It’s really important to us that there aren’t negative occurrences from drinking what we think is an amazingly wonderful thing,” Troxel said. “We love milk.”
State Senator Jean Leising is a former nurse who has serious concerns about legalizing unpasteurized milk.
She has been surprised by the amount of public sentiment in support of raw milk despite concerns over its potential to contain harmful bacteria.
“To me the whole push for raw milk, as I see it now, is that it’s almost become a fad in a way, and I’m not sure that it’s based on good concrete data,” Leising said.
Leising says if the legislature decides to move forward, any proposal will need strict guidelines for inspection and regulation. The Republican senator says she does not normally support government regulation, but it is essential when it comes to the protection of public health.
Citizens have until September 1 to submit comments to the Raw Milk Virtual Public Hearing, which can be found here.