Dairy producers and processors joined forces to oppose another state-level raw milk bill in April, urging Louisiana lawmakers to reject HB 247 two days before it was scheduled for a hearing. The bill would lift the state’s ban on selling unpasteurized milk to consumers.
In a joint letter, NMPF and IDFA cited the government statistics on illnesses and deaths from raw milk consumption and noted that raw milk is a vehicle for transmitting pathogens including E. coli 0157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella.
The groups also debunked advocates’ claims that consuming raw milk has health benefits and that testing and regulation can protect consumers. “No claim related to the health benefits of consuming raw milk has been substantiated in any of the medical literature,” they said, adding that “product testing … cannot ensure the same level of safety as pasteurization.”
More than three dozen raw milk bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year, but as of April, only one had passed, despite intense lobbying by a small group of advocates. The successful bill authorized a study of liability issues related to raw milk sales between Utah farmers and consumers. In January, NMPF Vice President Beth Briczinski testified against a raw milk bill in Maryland that was subsequently withdrawn.