Policy & Politics

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Raw Milk (national policy)

Published May. 15, 2013

AFBF Policy Development

April 2013


After much debate, a large majority of delegates to the 2013 AFBF Annual Meeting approved new policy language in support of only pasteurized milk and milk products being sold or distributed for human consumption. Most of the discussion in favor of the policy addition centered on the potential risks to public health posed by consumption of raw milk. Six states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont) subsequently dissented from AFBF policy.

States currently have the authority to govern the sale of raw milk inside their boundaries and some states do allow in-state sales of raw milk. Because AFBF policy is focused on issues at the national level, intrastate regulation is not affected. Raw milk is not currently the subject of any proposed national legislative or regulatory action.


Should state programs that inspect and provide for the sale of raw milk and milk products within the state, and clearly labeled with acknowledged food safety risks, be addressed in and allowed by AFBF policy?

Federal provisions allow for the interstate sale of cheese produced through adequate aging or other processes that kill food-borne contaminants. Since cheese conforming to these standards has not been a food safety risk, should AFBF policy formally recognize the safety of these products just as the federal government does?

Should AFBF policy language that specifically opposes raw milk sales for human consumption be further clarified to stipulate that it only applies to national and interstate sales of milk and milk products?

Recognizing that both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider pasteurization necessary for food safety reasons, should the current language be retained?

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