Iowa Enacts Bill to Legalize Sale of Unpasteurized Milk


The Legislature of Iowa approved a bill to allow sale of raw milk by a vote of 64 to 35 in the House and 37 to 13 in the Senate.  Supporters of the Bill maintain that it now allows consumers freedom in the choice of foods they buy.  This freedom will extend to the inadvertent exposure to  salmonellosis campylobacteriosis, STEC and listeriosis. Pasteurization was introduced in the 19th century to suppress milk-borne tuberculosis and later brucellosis, both infections having been eradicated from U.S. commercial herds. Given that many of the pathogens of human health significance are present in the intestinal tract of cattle, a flick of a tail during milking may result in contamination that would otherwise be inactivated by pasteurization.


According to the Bill signed by Governor Kim Reynolds, raw milk dairies will have to submit to testing and submission of monthly bacterial levels.  The law also requires raw milk to be stored at 45F and must be distributed within seven days.


An Iowa Representative, Dr. Megan Srinivas representing the urban constituency of Des Moines is an infectious disease specialist.  She opposed the Bill noting that the probability of acquiring a milk-borne infection is over 150 times greater than with pasteurized milk. As they say “freedom comes at a price”


Public health in the U.S. has been seriously compromised by a wave of “freedom of choice” legislation in many states.  There is no scientific evidence that raw milk is in any way nutritionally superior to pasteurized milk.  Passage of laws permitting the distribution and sale of raw milk is essentially a reversion to the 19th century. EGG-NEWS maintains that providing unpasteurized milk to children is a form of abuse.