Collaboration in California Leads to Promising Raw Milk Legislation

After three years of negotiations between the Small Herd Working Group of small dairies and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), a piece of legislation has been drafted that would allow direct-to-consumer raw milk sales from small farms under certain regulatory requirements.

The raw milk legislation “Home Dairy Farm Bill” (AB 2505) would allow direct-to-consumer raw milk sales by dairies with a maximum of three cows or fifteen goats. Farmers would be required to: ensure annual testing for tuberculosis and brucellosis; adhere to bacterial standards (no more than 15,000 bacteria per ml or 10 coliform bacteria per ml); include a warning label on raw milk stating that unpasteurized milk may contain disease-causing microorganisms; and only sell directly to individuals in face-to-face transactions.

This bill, and the collaborative process behind its creation, is a promising sign that it is possible for farmers and public health officials to work together to find a solution that meets the demand for raw milk and contributes to the economic prosperity of the small, local dairies. Over the past three years, many farmer groups, state organizations and other stakeholders have been involved in the drafting of this legislation.

It is unclear whether the CDFA will officially support the bill once it is up for discussion in the California Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, but members of the Committee have already expressed interest in the bill. It is expected that the legislation would apply to approximately 1,000 home dairies in the state of California.

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.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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