Raw milk now legal in West Virginia

From the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund blog:

“Falls Church, VA—March 4, 2016—Raw milk is now legal in West Virginia, the state that previously had the most anti-raw milk laws in the United States. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed Senate Bill 387 (SB 387) yesterday, a bill that will allow the distribution of raw milk through herdshare agreements.

Last year, Tomblin vetoed a herdshare bill that passed through the legislature. The national dairy groups, the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association, successfully lobbied the governor to veto the bill last year but were quiet this time around. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided testimony against SB 387, but the testimony had little impact.

The margins for the bill were bigger in both the House and the Senate than they were last year. Supporters of SB 387 flooded the governor’s office with calls the past week; there were few if any calls opposing. The bill officially becomes law in May.

Until now, West Virginia easily had the most anti-raw milk laws on the books in any state. West Virginia regulations prohibited the sale of raw milk for human consumption, the sale of raw milk for pet consumption, herdshare agreements, and even giving raw milk away.

Under SB 387, raw milk consumers entering into a herdshare agreement with a dairy must sign a document acknowledging “the inherent dangers of raw milk.” The dairy farmer must have a signed agreement with any “responsible party” obtaining milk through the herdshare; the farmer must file a copy of each agreement with the commissioner of agriculture. The shareholder dairy must meet health requirements established by the state veterinarian for milk producing animals. There are reporting requirements if an illness is directly related to consumption. The commissioner of agriculture may propose rules governing herdshare operations but is not required to do so. Any proposed rule must go through the Legislative Rule-Making and Review Committee before going to the full legislature for a vote on approving the rules. Several strong supporters of the bill currently serve on the committee.

There are now 42 states that have laws allowing legal access to raw milk. West Virginia had been one of the toughest hurdles remaining in the effort to have legal access in all 50 states….”

More on Farm to Consumer blog.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Raw milk now legal in West Virginia

  1. thebovine

    Another news story about how raw milk was just legalized in West Virginia: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20160303/tomblin-signs-raw-milk-bill-into-law

  2. How wonderful of the ruling class, to grant the slaves a few inconsequential permissions! (not recognize rights)
    How benevolent of our masters!
    Shall we lick their boots, and sing their praises?
    If we act grateful enough, perhaps they will grant us a few more permissions. The state see’s us a slave’s and thinks that it our bodies… that is very clear.

    I don’t know about you, but I own my body. The state does not. I decide what goes into MY body, not the state. I am not a slave. Are you?

  3. just a reader

    Full text of WV Bill SB387 : http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Text_HTML/2016_SESSIONS/RS/bills/SB387%20SUB2%20enr.pdf .

    One interesting clause starts at line 40: “(f) The Commissioner of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Resources, may propose rules for promulgation in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code in compliance with raw milk dairy industry standards.”

    It should be interesting to see if the WV Commissioner of Agriculture sets milk sample testing requirements and standards, bringing WV in line with 16 other American states which have them (see http://bcherdshare.org/information/testing-standards for examples of both raw milk and post-pasteurized milk bacteriological testing standards).

    Is there a consensus in the Ontario raw milk community regarding the issue of standards for bacteriological testing? This issue is likely going to be raised in any negotiations with government.

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