Kansas: Bill Banning Raw Milk Fails

By Pete Kennedy, Esq.

In November 2019, the Kansas Department of Agriculture agreed in settling a lawsuit not to enforce the off-farm advertising ban on raw milk sales in the state; the expectation was that the Kansas Legislature would repeal the statutory provision establishing the ban in the 2020 legislative session [see Wise Traditions Winter 2019 issue for background].

What raw milk supporters did not anticipate in the 2020 session was the introduction of Senate Bill 300, legislation proposing to ban the sale of any raw milk product (other than aged raw cheese by licensed manufacturers). Kansas has one of the more favorable raw milk laws in the U.S., allowing the unregulated on-farm sale of all raw dairy products.

Thanks to a big response in opposition to the bill, SB 300 did not make it out of committee.

The bill legalizing off-farm advertising, Senate Bill 308, was introduced but there was a surprise in that legislation as well. SB 308 had labeling and advertising requirements mandating that the following statement be included in each: “This product contains ungraded raw milk that is not pasteurized and, as a result, may contain organisms that cause food-borne illness, especially in infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with weak immune systems.” The warnings were to be the same size as the largest font used elsewhere in the label or advertisement.

Thanks again to a strong response from raw milk proponents, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources amended SB 308 so that the only required labeling and advertising language for the sale of raw milk and raw milk products was a statement that the raw dairy product is not pasteurized. The bill is expected to become law some time this spring.

This article was first published in the Spring 2020 issue of Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Pete Kennedy Pete Kennedy is a Florida attorney who has worked on issues governing raw milk production and distribution since 2004. He compiled a summary of raw milk laws in each of the fifty states and is currently a consultant for WAPF on, among other things, policies and laws regarding raw milk. Pete was a founding board member of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) and served as vice president and then president for many years. He has consulted on and drafted raw milk, cottage foods, and food sovereignty legislation; drafted and reviewed herdshare agreements; worked on embargo, seizure, and recall cases involving raw dairy products; worked on foodborne illness outbreaks attributed to raw milk consumption; handled issues involving on-farm slaughter, custom meat, and poultry processing as well as problems with zoning and local ordinances.