A study released last week by the Indiana State Board of Animal Health weighed the benefits and risks of consuming raw milk and concluded that "distributing raw milk will increase the risk that someone will become ill from consuming raw milk." The Indiana General Assembly requested the study in response to an effort to legalize the sale of raw milk to state residents.
Indiana currently does not allow unpasteurized milk to be sold for human consumption, but some residents circumvent the law by participating in cow-share agreements with dairy farmers or by purchasing raw milk designated for pet food.
Earlier this year, the Assembly attached an amendment, which would allow the sale of raw milk directly to consumers at small farms, to an unrelated bill detailing the duties of the state chemist. IDFA sent a letter to the Assembly's Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources in opposition to the bill.
Noting that there “is a significant risk that raw milk may contain pathogens,” the new report said the Board of Animal Health “believes that pasteurization is a practice that is highly effective in reducing the risk of human illness from pathogens in raw milk."
Going forward, the board recommended two options:
- retain the current law banning the sale of raw milk for human consumption, or
- allow the sale of raw milk at the farm level with new regulatory standards.
IDFA strongly supports retaining the current law to prohibit the sale of unpasteurized milk.
The report may start a new debate on the issue during the Indiana General Assembly session scheduled to begin in January.
For more information, contact Kyle Shreve, IDFA legislative coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3533.