July 18, 2018

South Dakota Passes Raw Milk Bill

The South Dakota Legislature has passed a raw milk bill that allows producers to continue to sell raw milk with some restrictions. The provisions were put in place to address concerns raised by the commercial dairy industry.

MilkRaw milk farmers will continue to be able to sell raw milk at on-farm stores and deliver to farmers markets if the milk is presold to an existing customer of the dairy. They will not be able to sell raw milk at retail stores and must comply with regular inspections.

Nationwide, the number of raw milk outbreaks has been increasing in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The number of raw milk outbreaks increased from 30 in 2007-2209, to 51 in 2010- 2012. Those outbreaks resulted in 979 illness and 73 hospitalizations.

Most raw milk outbreaks occur in states where raw milk sales are legal,  but there is  a domino affect, according to the CDC report. Making raw milk legal in one state leads to outbreaks in neighboring states. One example, is a Campylobacter outbreak from raw milk produced by Family Cow in Pennsylvania that sickened at least 80 people in four states, including Maryland, West Virginia, and New Jersey. Those states prohibit the sale of raw milk and residents specifically traveled to Pennsylvania to buy  raw milk.

Campylobacter, the source of  most raw milk outbreaks, causes diarrheal illness, fever, and abdominal cramps that can last up to 10 days. In rare cases,  campylobacteriosis can trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome, an illness that causes paralysis and death.

Last fall, a Campylobacter raw milk outbreak in Durand, Wisconsin sickened 38 people who attended a potluck for the football team. Ten people were hospitalized.

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