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Colorado Bill to Legalize Raw Milk Deferred


Colorado Bill SB24-043 that would have legalized sale of raw milk in the state has apparently fallen victim to the legislative calendar and the emergence of bovine influenza-H5N1.  The Bill will not be considered during the current legislative session although it will be reintroduced in 2025.  Prospects for passage dimmed when the Bill was incorporated into a separate measure dealing with water resources and agriculture.  The Colorado Raw Milk Bill, or “Freedom to be Infected” Bill although enthusiastically sponsored in both chambers, received only one hearing.


According to statements by USDA and FDA, irrespective of the H5N1 status of herds, pasteurization will effectively destroy influenza virus in milk.  Recent surveys have detected viral RNA in commercial milk applying PCR assay but the product was non-infectious. Pasteurization effectively destroys the viability and infectivity of the virus.  Fear of contracting infection from raw milk should lead raw milk advocates to boil their supplies before consumption thereby obviating the justification for purchase in the first place. It is simply safer, cheaper and more convenient to purchase commercial milk that is pasteurized resulting in freedom from bacterial and viral pathogens. There is no scientifically justifiable advantage from consuming raw milk compared to pasteurized milk but with all the risks of acquiring multiple infections. Unfortunately what was an entrenched quaint preference limited to a few misinformed consumers, has recently been politicized as a “freedom” issue.