In yesterday’s House Agriculture Committee meeting, HB 150-AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 3 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO RAW MILK was introduced. Here’s the language from the DE General Assembly bill tracking:
This Bill legalizes the sale of unpasteurized, raw milk directly to a final consumer. The State of Delaware adopted, by Regulation, the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance 2009 Revision, as amended, (the “2009 PMO”) in May 2011. Section 9 of the 2009 PMO prohibits the sale of unpasteurized milk and milk products to the final consumer. This Bill creates an exception to this prohibition that would allow the sale of unpasteurized milk and milk products by only those persons holding a validly issued “raw milk permit.”
Currently, thirty states allow consumers to purchase raw milk. Of those 30, 12 allow consumers to purchase raw milk at retail stores. This bill, however, similar to the situation in many other states, would limit raw milk sales to the farm or property where the raw milk is produced.
This Bill further tasks the Department of Health and Social Services, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, with establishing a raw milk permit program, as well as such rules, regulations, and standards as are necessary to further the objectives and provisions of this Bill and ensure the safety of the general public.
The main sponsor is Rep. Outten (R), the longtime legislator from Harrington. I’m pretty sure it’s his first bill. I wasn’t able to attend but I wish I could have to hear comments. From what I understand, DE Dept. of Ag and the DE Farm Bureau do not support this bill because of the FDA’s position that raw milk is unsafe. Currently the federal government does not allow interstate raw milk sales and has left the decision of local sales up to individual states. The way HB 150 is written now, it would not allow direct retail sales. In other words, only the farm or property where raw milk is produced could sell it to the final consumer. I’m not sure how much this will benefit DE dairy farmers if they don’t already have a roadside farm stand or market.
I’ve heard my grandmother say she drank milk straight from the cow her entire childhood. She also told me she always thought cereal was supposed to be hot because they used milk straight from the cow’s udder for breakfast. Groups like “A Campaign for Real Milk” and “Raw Milk USA” cite many benefits of raw milk which are diminished after it’s pasteurized. I’ve also heard of some specialty food shops wanting raw milk product. Opponents, such as the FDA and CDC, say raw milk can cause serious illness by transmitting harmful bacteria. So my question to you is……….would you purchase/consume raw milk bottled in Delaware?