June 5, 2020

Texas Mulls Expanding Raw Milk Sales

A bill that would loosen restrictions on the sale of raw milk is scheduled for public hearing on Wednesday, February 27. The bill, HB-46, was authored by Rep. Dan Flynn (R- Canton) would allow producers to sell raw milk at farmers’ markets and fairs. Currently raw milk producers in the state of Texas are only allowed to sell directly to consumers at the site where the milk was produced.

Milk SplashingRaw milk laws vary from state. The federal government prohibits the interstate sale of raw milk because it is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and many public health groups to be a high risk food. Raw Milk is milk that has not been pasteurized which means it can contain harmful bacteria such as E.coli, Listeria and Campylobacter.

Outbreaks linked to raw milk affect children disproportionately.  ”It is important to note that a substantial proportion of the raw milk-associated disease burden falls on children; among the 93 raw dairy product outbreaks from 1998 to 2009, 79% involved at least one person less than 20 years old,” a CDC raw milk fact sheet states.

Seniors, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are most at-risk for of getting sick from drinking raw milk. But,healthy people of any age can get very sick or even die if they drink raw milk contaminated with harmful germs.

In Alaska, an ongoing raw milk outbreak has sickened 18 people. Two of them required hospitalization, according to the Alaska Department of Health. The raw milk was tainted with Campylobacter which causes symptoms including abdominal cramps, nasuea vomiting and fever.  Some people who contract Campylobacetr infections develop  Guillan-Barré syndrome, which can causes paralysis.

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