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Raw Milk Bill Advances in New Jersey

Dec 14, 2016

The New Jersey Assembly Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources on Monday advanced a bill that would legalize the direct sale of raw milk to consumers and establish cow shares in the state.  The bill, A 696, will now move to the House floor, but with just a few days left in New Jersey’s legislative calendar, no further action is expected before the end of the year.

Michael Dykes, president and CEO of IDFA, and Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, sent a joint letter on Monday to the committee leaders asserting that legalizing the sale of raw milk to consumers would be a threat to public safety and urging their opposition to the bill.

“Assembly Bill 696 would remove existing regulations prohibiting the direct sale of raw milk, consumption of which has been opposed by every major health organization in the United States, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics,” IDFA and NMPF said in the letter. “It is important to emphasize that no claim related to the health benefits of consuming raw milk has been substantiated in any of the medical literature. The scientific consensus is that raw milk can cause serious illnesses and hospitalizations, as well as result in lifelong negative health complications and death.”

New Jersey is one of only a few state legislatures remaining in session in 2016. IDFA will continue to monitor the progress of A 696 and engage as necessary. Two other states with legislatures still in session, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, also are considering bills that would legalize the sale of raw milk to consumers. IDFA will continue to monitor these bills as well.

Since July 2015, 12 states have introduced a total of 26 bills that would loosen restrictions on sales of raw milk to consumers, but only two, West Virginia and Utah, have passed and enacted them.

Members may contact Ashley Burch, IDFA director of political programs, at or (202) 220-3534 for additional information or to learn more about engaging in IDFA’s efforts to oppose state legislation that would legalize raw milk sales to consumers.

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