The South Dakota Senate passed a bill late last month that would move unpasteurized milk into its own dairy category, easing the sale of unpasteurized milk to consumers in the state. IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation opposed this move in a letter to state legislators earlier in January, saying the bill would signal to consumers “that drinking unpasteurized milk is safe when, in fact, the opposite is true.”
In the letter, IDFA and NMPF recounted the dangers of drinking raw milk and urged members of South Dakota’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to oppose the bill. Selling raw milk to consumers is legal in South Dakota under an exemption to current dairy laws.
IDFA and NMPF have long fought state-by-state battles on raw milk by demonstrating the serious illnesses and even deaths that have been attributed to drinking unpasteurized milk and by listing the numerous health organizations that oppose raw milk sales to consumers. In this letter, the associations added details to correct current consumer myths about raw milk.
“It is important to emphasize that no claim related to the health benefits of raw milk has been substantiated in any of the medical literature,” the letter stated. “Another misleading claim is that testing or regulating the sale of raw milk will protect consumers from the risks of raw milk consumption. This is also unfounded. Product testing is not an adequate substitute and cannot ensure the same level of safety as pasteurization.”
The bill is now with the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee awaiting action. IDFA and NMPF will continue efforts to urge South Dakota legislators to oppose the bill.
Read the letter here.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at email@example.com.