Lawmaker proposes raw milk sales

Published: Jan. 16, 2017 at 6:57 PM AKST
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An Anchorage lawmaker is proposing to legalize the sale of raw milk in the state.

Representative Geran Tarr, a Democrat from Anchorage, has introduced HB 46 which would allow direct sales from the producer to the consumer.

“We need to try and grow our dairy industry. We don’t have enough going in state, and this would be an opportunity for growing small businesses,” said Tarr.

The bill would require clear package labeling that acknowledges the product may cause health concerns.

“Yes, while milk can have a risk and so can so many other fresh foods that you can pick up at the supermarket,” said goat farmer Suzy Crosby with Cottonwood Creek Farm, “Alaskans should have the right to choose what foods they eat.”

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says unpasteurized milk can contain harmful bacteria like E. coli, Campylobacter, Listeria and Salmonella.

“These infections can be particularly serious in those who are very young, very old, or who have impaired immune systems,” reads a DEC document titled Raw Milk Facts.

Tarr says she’s looking forward to the discussion on HB 46 and making sure both safety and access concerns are addressed for consumers.