Maine House of Representatives Passes Raw Milk Bill

The Maine House of Representatives has passed a bill that would loosen raw milk restrictions in the state of Maine, allowing farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers on the farm without a license. Farmers would be required to take a sanitation course and would be prohibited from advertising.

The bill, which was proposed by Rep. William Noon, passed by a vote of 80-67 and will now go on to the Senate for consideration.

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Raw Milk Gains Legislative Support in Maine

Raw milk advocates in Maine began 2015 optimistic about getting several food freedom passed by the Maine legislature, three of which would legalize the sales of raw milk in some form.

They have reason to remain optimistic, as in early March some officials from the Maine Department of Agriculture said they support easing licensing requirements for some dairy farmers who sell raw milk directly to consumers.

The Maine State Legislature is considering two bills that would do just that. LD 229 would allow dairy farms producing less than 20 gallons of raw milk per day to sell it at their farm or farmers market without state licensing or inspections. LD 312 would exempt farms from state licensing or inspections only if the raw milk is sold directly to consumers at the farm, though farmers would need to pass a dairy sanitation course and would not be able to advertise raw milk.

Read more about who testified in support of which bill, and how each bill would affect Maine dairy farmers via the Portland Press Herald.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Maine Raw Milk Case Reaches State Supreme Court

Dan Brown, a Maine farmer who has been battling the state over raw milk regulations since 2011, is getting his day in the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.

In 2005, the Maine Department of Agriculture told Brown that he did not need a license to sell raw milk from his farm. But six years later, different officials changed that decision and instructed Brown to get a license and label his milk with consumer health warnings. Brown ignored the requirements and continued to sell raw milk from his farm, encouraged by his town’s passing of a local “food freedom” ordinance stating that small-scale farmers selling products directly to consumers are exempt from state and federal food safety requirements.

The state sued Brown, who lost at the trial court level and appealed to the state’s high court. In mid-May, Dan Brown and his attorneys appeared in Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court to argue that the trial court’s ruling was improper “…on the basis that the state is equitably estopped from requiring the license, the local ‘food freedom’ ordinance, Brown does not fit the definition of a milk distributor, and the posted warning sign means he ‘substantially complied’ with the labeling requirements.” In 33 minutes, they presented their arguments and answered questions from the justices that focused mostly on “whether the state’s interest in preventing foodborne illnesses and potential deaths is enough to override the ‘esstoppel doctrine.’’

Brown and his family are awaiting the court’s decision.

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.  westonaprice.org/lab

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