A year ago, it looked like the Indiana General Assembly was about to allow raw milk to be sold in the state. Instead it only passed one change in the law, and that was to require raw milk to be labeled as “not for human consumption.”
Then, it sent word down to the Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) that it wanted the state’s most powerful agricultural board to study the raw milk issue and report back to the General Assembly.
Since receiving that report last Dec. 1, Indiana lawmakers have not shown much further interest letting raw milk flow. The BOAH report took the approach used by the 2010 Wisconsin task force by outlining standards that would be required if raw milk sales were ever permitted.
Senate Bill (SB) 513, introduced into the current session by Sen. Richard Young (D-Milltown), would have permitted raw milk sales subject to BOAH rule making authority. But SB 513 was allowed to die in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Then there was SB 610, introduced by Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) that would have allowed raw milk to be distributed to family members and non-paying guests only. It too died, this one meeting its demise in the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services.
After former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed a bill to permit raw milk sales in the Diary State, he also commissioned the Raw Milk Policy Working Group to conduct a survey whose results ended up setting a high bar for any future legislative action. And since that report was issued in 2011, no raw milk bill in Wisconsin has advanced anywhere near that far.
Wisconsin, the nation’s top dairy state, and Indiana, a top state for dairy processing, are leaders among the 20 states that currently prohibit the sale of raw milk for human consumption. After much noise, it now seems unlikely that either state is going to go soft on non-pasteurized milk.
Legislatures in Wyoming and Mississippi have also proven to be killing fields for raw milk bills this year.
A bill to allow anyone with a small herd permit access to raw milk failed to make the cutoff for passing the House in Wyoming, where lawmakers have now gone home for the year. A food freedom bill, allowing production and sales of all sorts of unprocessed agricultural products, met a similar fate in Mississippi.
Also in Texas, the raw milk bill was left pending in committee after it received a public hearing. It died in the same manner last year. Next door in Oklahoma, a bill to allow home delivery of raw bill appears to have missed a deadline for getting out of the house committee to which it was assigned.
In Hawaii and Iowa, raw milk bills also appear to be dead due to neglect. On the islands neither HB 99 nor SB 364 have yet to be heard or scheduled for any votes. They would allow the sale of raw milk and dairy products made with raw milk.
In Iowa, Senate File 61 and File 77 also haven’t moved after being assigned to a committee two months ago. As drafted, the bills would allow raw milk producers to engage in retail sales and require they meet the same standards as Grade A producers of pasteurized milk.
In New Mexico, SB 286 would turn off raw milk’s current green light and replace it with a red one.
Current law in New Mexico requires a seller of raw milk to have a permit to use Grade A labeling and advertising for the product. Cows must be tested before production and yearly after that. Milk must be bottled on the farm and conspicuously labeled with a warning text for raw product. Raw milk must kept and displayed away from pasteurized milk products.
SB 286, banning the retail sale of raw milk in the state, has yet to move from the Senate Conservation Committee.