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Raw Milk Amendment Makes Many Farmers Nervous

Raw Milk Amendment Makes Many Farmers Nervous
More reasons to pay attention to legislative session than right to work bill.

The Indiana Professional Dairy Producers issued an alert last week asking anyone concerned with food safety to let their legislators know that they think the amendment that would allow raw milk sales in Indiana is bad legislation.

The Senate approved the bill once on a vote of 30 to 20. The bill is sponsored by Senator John Waterman, a Republican, who represents parts of Clay, Owen, Greene, Sullivan and Knox Counties. According to IPDP, there are only 8 operating Grade A dairy farms in the area he represents.

Basically, the amendment would legalize the sale of unpasteurized, raw milk in Indiana. Such sale has been banned for concerns over health issues. Many families who milked in the '40s and '50s used home pasteurizers rather than drink raw milk. They felt the risk was too great. The most common disease associated with drinking raw milk is undulant fever. A particular bane in pioneer days, it was supposedly the cause of death of Abraham Lincoln's mother.

The amendment includes qualifiers for those who would want to sell raw milk. The producer must provide a sanitary container and display a sign that says it is raw milk, amongst other things. Todd Janzen, legal adviser for IPDP, says "if anyone thinks that selling raw milk under these guidelines is going to protect the farmer from liability if someone gets sick, they are sorely mistaken."

Bob Kraft, legislative specialist for Indiana Farm Bureau, on behalf of Indiana Farm Bureau, was asking senators to vote no on the amended version that would allow raw milk sales under specific conditions. The amendment was attached to Senate Bill 398.

Farm Bureau supported the original bill that dealt with natural resource issues, but withdrew support once the amendment was added. According to Kraft, the safety and reputation of Indiana's food supply is a matter of critical importance, and could suffer if such a law was put in place and the practice was condoned ion Indiana.
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