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House Rejects Raw Milk Amendment – A Victory for Sanity and Public Health


By a vote of 331 to 79 a bipartisan vote rejected a proposed amendment to the Farm Bill that would have allowed unrestricted interstate sale of raw milk.


Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) justified his amendment as “protecting farmers from Federal interference”. It is illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in 22 U.S. states but virtually all other states impose some form of restriction including herd-share boondoggles.


 Two important considerations guided the House decision:


  • One; There are no nutritional or health benefits associated with raw milk compared to pasteurized milk
  • Two; Raw milk is frequently contaminated with Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, viruses and occasionally Brucella and potentially tuberculosis if M. bovis occurs in small herds. It is estimated that one percent of milk in the U.S. is consumed raw but this category is responsible for 80 percent of milk borne infections.
    The Safe Food Coalition opposing the amendment included the Center for Foodborne Illness, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League, STOP Foodborne Illness, and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
    In the prevailing environment characterized by anti-science and opposition to any form of government oversight, irrespective of the justification, it is encouraging to observe the 4-to-1 vote to kill the raw-milk amendment to the Farm Bill.
    It would be enigmatic for the Federal government to allow the dissemination of bacterial pathogens while maintaining rigorous standards for Salmonella contamination of poultry and eggs, zero tolerance for Listeria in foods and surveillance and eradication programs for brucellosis and tuberculosis.