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NMPF Opposing New Raw Milk Bill Introduced in Maryland

February 3, 2016

NMPF is opposing a state bill that came before the Maryland House of Delegates in early February that would legalize the sale of raw milk in the state. 

In testimony sent to state legislators, NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association expressed their opposition to House Bill 79, designed to allow the direct sale to consumers of raw milk and raw milk products in Maryland. NMPF and IDFA cited the significant public health risks associated with the consumption of milk that has not undergone pasteurization. Currently, direct sale of raw milk to consumers is not legal in Maryland. 

“No claim related to the health benefits of consuming raw milk has been substantiated in any of the medical literature,” both organizations said. “Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella.”

NMPF and IDFA’s testimony cited critical evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support their argument. According to a 2012 CDC report, between 1993 and 2006, unpasteurized dairy products resulted in 73 known outbreaks and nearly 75% of raw milk-associated outbreaks have occurred in states where sale of raw milk was legal.  Additionally, two-thirds of all raw milk and raw dairy product outbreaks involve children.

Following a hearing for a similar bill in January 2014, the state legislature’s Health and Government Operations Committee requested a study on the risks and benefits of consuming raw cow’s milk, which was conducted by Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Ultimately, the report concluded “that drinking raw milk carries an increased risk of foodborne illness as compared to drinking pasteurized milk. Based on our findings, we discourage the consumption of raw milk.”