Consumers are already drinking it, one senator said
By Diego Flammini
Iowa senators have passed a bill they say provides more dairy consumption options to producers.
Senate File 2309, which would allow on-farm sales and distribution of raw milk, passed by a vote of 32 to 15 on March 9.
Sales to restaurants, grocery stores or convenience stores would remain prohibited.
Unlike pasteurized milk, raw milk doesn’t go through the pasteurization process.
Under this legislation, raw milk producers must post coliform counts.
The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
Multiple states, like Illinois, Minnesota, New York and Oklahoma, already allow on-farm sales of raw milk.
This senate bill legalizes what consumers are already doing, said state Sen. Tony Bisignano.
“It’s going on already. It’s kind of like a legalizing act that people aren’t going to be criminalized. I don’t think in this state people ought to be criminalized for something they choose to do that doesn’t harm someone else,” he said, The Gazette reported.
Bisignano and Kevin Kinney were the only Democratic senators to vote in favor of the bill.
Industry groups have opposed raw milk sales and distribution in the past.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), for example, supported the defeat of a raw milk amendment in the 2018 Farm Bill.
“Nationally, our dairy industry benefits from a very high degree of consumer confidence – confidence built in large part by the excellent food safety record of milk and dairy products,” Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA, said in May 2018. “Legalizing and regulating the sale of raw milk sends a signal to consumers that drinking unpasteurized milk is safe when, in fact, the opposite is true.”
Raw milk has accounted for multiple illnesses.
Between 1993 and 2012, 127 outbreaks have been linked to raw milk, the Centers for Disease Control said.
These can include Listeria or Salmonella.
But other prepared foods can contain these bacteria too.
Manchester, Conn., Royal Ice Cream Company, for example, issued a recall on Feb. 11 of this year because of products contaminated with Listeria.