Maine Tries Again to Legalize Raw Milk Sales

Maine raw milk advocates are making another attempt to legalize sales in the state. Last year’s bill to legalize raw milk sales was vetoed by Governor Paul LePage, reportedly out of concern that it would have allowed the sale of dairy products from unlicensed farmers at farmers markets.

This time around, the bill has been amended to include several restrictions: only face-to-face sales are allowed on the farm or from a stand located on farm property; no advertising is allowed other than word-of-mouth marketing; and all products must be labeled with a disclaimer that the farm was not inspected or licensed by the state.

These limitations were key to gaining the support of Ronald Dyer, Quality Assurance and Regulations Director for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, as well as the Maine Dairy Industry Association. However, MDIA Executive Director Julie-Marie Bickford has expressed concern that this year’s bill minimizes the oversight and education that accompanies licensing and inspection, which she believes is critical for food safety.

The bill needs to be approved by the House and the Senate, but it is unclear what might happen when it reaches the Governor’s desk.

Sources: The Bangor Daily News and Food Safety News

Update: On March 31, 2014 the House voted 71-65 in favor of “ought not to pass.” The bill faces more votes in both the House and the Senate.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.

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