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Commerce Committee – Week 9, 2022

SF 2309 – Sale of raw milk

SF 2309 allows the limited sale of raw (unpasteurized) milk by specified raw milk dairy farmers directly to consumers as a “willing seller, willing buyer.” The raw milk could be sold at the dairy farm, delivered by the farmer to the consumer or sold at a neutral meeting place. The raw milk cannot be sold or delivered to a place of business where food items are distributed on a retail basis, such as bakeries or farmers markets. The raw milk or raw milk dairy product container must have a permanently-affixed label with a prominent “Notice to Consumers” stating that it holds raw milk or a dairy product that includes raw milk not subject to state inspection or other public health regulations that require pasteurization and grading.

The raw milk producer can have a maximum herd of 10 dairy animals (e.g., cows, goats or sheep) that are actively producing milk. The producer must test each animal monthly to determine a coliform count and standard plate count, and maintain those records for at least three years. A summary of those tests must be posted at the dairy site. The producer must also employ a licensed veterinarian annually to determine each animal’s health status and the examination must include a blood test for common diseases that afflict that type of dairy animal. The new raw milk production language [137D.2A] is under the purview of the Department of Inspections and Appeals. The bill stipulates that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will not administer the legislation. 

Sen. Janet Petersen offered an amendment [S-5049] that would add to the required “Notice to Consumer” a warning about the serious risk to pregnant women regarding the dangers of becoming ill from the bacteria listeria, which is often found in raw milk and can cause miscarriage, illness, stillbirth or death of the newborn baby. The amendment lost on a party-line vote, Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans voting “no.”

The bill is supported by Americans for Prosperity. Opponents of SF 2309 include the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, Iowa State Dairy Association, Iowa Grocery Industry Association, Iowa Environmental Health Association, Iowa Dairy Foods Association and Iowa Institute for Cooperatives. There is no House companion. [3/9: 32-15 (Yes: Republicans, Bisignano, Kinney; Absent: Goodwin, Hogg, Zaun)]