Monday, December 10, 2012

Raw milk study released in Indiana

Unpasteurized or "raw" milk sales for human consumption are illegal in Indiana, but lately every year a bill shows up in the Indiana General Assembly to legalize raw milk sales. After a legalization bill failed in the 2012 legislative session, Indiana legislators authorized Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) to "conduct a study of the issue of farmers selling unpasteurized milk to consumers."  After a summer of researching and soliciting public comments, BOAH has released its study on the sale of raw milk.

The BOAH raw milk study cautions that "[d]istributing raw milk for human consumption will increase the risk that someone will become ill from consuming raw milk. But the decision to authorize or not the sale of unpasteurized milk to consumers is ultimately a political decision."  However, if the Indiana legislature makes the decision to allow the sale of raw milk, BOAH suggests the following:
Change the current law requiring pasteurization to allow limited distribution of raw milk directly from the farmer producing the milk to consumers and authorize the BOAH to establish minimum sanitary requirements that may reduce the risk of human illness. If Indiana is to move away from the current laws requiring pasteurization of milk and milk products sold to the public, the following principles should be followed:

1. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health should have the authority to adopt rules requiring permits and establishing sanitation standards for raw milk producers.

2. All farmers producing raw milk for consumption should be held to the same standards.

3. The sale of raw milk should be limited to the farmer producing the milk selling directly to consumer.
From my legal perspective, one surprise in the raw milk study was the analysis of whether a farmer selling raw milk can obtain liability insurance. BOAH found that five insurers provide 75% of farmowners' coverage in Indiana.  Of these five, only two exclude coverage for raw milk sales.  Had you asked me before reading the BOAH study, I would have assumed no carrier was willing to insurer against liability for raw milk sales.

The BOAH study certainly is not advocating that Indiana approve the sale of raw milk.  But if sales are going to occur, they should be done as safely as possible and with proper liability insurance in place.  The BOAH study makes that clear.

To read the complete BOAH raw milk study, click here.  (PDF will open).

By Todd Janzen


  1. I don't see why they have to ban selling raw milk in Indiana. I guess, unprocessed milk is very healthy and it can give us more calcium and nutrients we need for our teeth and body compared to the processed ones.

  2. I also can’t understand why they have to stop selling raw milk in India. Well in fact, raw milk is a very healthy and effective contributor of vitamins and minerals that is needed to keep our teeth healthy.


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