Why is raw milk in the news in Minnesota? Consumers have banded together with the shared goal to limit restrictions on consumer access to this natural product.
Consumers desire raw milk for various reasons. Some are unable to drink processed milk. Others are seeking the enzymes and/or beneficial bacteria present in raw milk. Many just like the way it tastes! For whatever reason, preservation of health or pure enjoyment, consumers should be able to access raw milk in Minnesota in a safe and convenient way.
We are fortunate, in Minnesota, that our State Constitution gives farmers the right to peddle the products of their farm. We even have a statute, Section 32.393 that allows for the occasional sale of raw milk at the farm.
Minnesota farm families, their friends, neighbors and acquaintances, have a long history of consuming raw milk. The problem arises that, in this day and age, farms and consumers are no longer geographically close. A consumer may drive hours, round trip, to purchase raw milk at the farm.
For the past several months, a group of concerned citizens, members of the Foundation for Consumer Free Choice, and the Board of Minnesota Natural Health Legal Reform Group, has met to draft a new consumer access to raw milk bill, under the legal guidance of Diane M. Miller J.D. of National Health Freedom Action.
On Wednesday, Jan. 26th, this bill was signed by chief author Representative Sarah Anderson (R) of Plymouth, District 43A, and introduced to the 87th legislative session as #255 in the House and #147 in the Senate. Co-signers of this bill are, among others, Representative Bob Barrett (R), of Shafer, and Senator Sean Neinow (R) of Cambridge.
This bill will allow farmers to deliver their products to their customers. This keeps consumers from driving to the farm, on an individual basis, to buy milk. Less travel for consumers is more time-efficient, cost-efficient, spares our roads, decreases emissions, and decreases the risk of the consumer being involved in a traffic accident. This is particularly helpful during our harsh Minnesota winters.
This bill involves the same direct farm-to-consumer sale, and the same private contract between consenting farmer and consumer. The only change is the location at which the consumer obtains the product. It also serves to support the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative by Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, as outlined in the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan of the USDA.
© 2011 Kathryn Niflis Johnson