Arguments are pouring in over whether New Jersey’s stores should be allowed to sell raw, unpasteurized milk, with advocates pushing for a bill before the legislative session next month. Both those for and against the bill have been very vocal in the statehouse, reports njspotlight.com
The New Jersey Senate, which has called sessions for Jan. 5 and Jan. 9, is expected to further discuss whether the state should join 30 others that allow raw milk sales. Of the 30 states, 13 restrict the sales where the milk is produced, keeping it out of general consumption. Meanwhile, five states have toughened quality standards for unpasteurized dairy products in the past three years.
Supporters of the law change say raw milk not only tastes better, but is healthier, providing relief from allergies and asthma. Some even claim raw milk cures cancer.
They also argue that New Jersey residents who want raw milk cross over to Pennsylvania or New York, states where the sales are legal.
Opponents claim raw milk is not safe because it can carry bacteria. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both warn people not to consume raw dairy products, which led to more than 1,800 reported illnesses, 195 hospitalizations, and two deaths between 1998 and 2009.
Assemblyman John DiMaio, whose district includes some of New Jersey’s prime farmland, said allowing farmers who wish to sell raw milk to do so could help them stay in business.
“This would be a value-added product farmers can sell if they choose for $8-to-$10 a gallon at the farm,” DiMaio said. “This is a very simple bill that can help farmers remain viable.”
DiMaio’s bill requires the state Department of Agriculture to create a raw milk permitting program that would include testing of the cows and the milk, as well as state inspections. A permit fee would cover the costs of the program.
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