Raw milk sales in Maryland debated at meeting

Staff Writer

FREDERICK, Md. (Sept. 30, 2014) — The selling of raw unpasteurized milk in Maryland was again a hot topic along with more discussion on milk hauling legislation, at the meeting of the Maryland Dairy Industry Advisory Council on Sept. 23, in Frederick. Md., at the County Health Department.
The main topic of the day — the sale of raw milk in Maryland, was introduced by Colby Ferguson, representing Maryland Farm Bureau — and the subject brought about a number of comments.
Ferguson noted that Farm Bureau supports the current law banning the sale of raw milk in the state.
Ferguson said he did not see Farm Bureau changing its position in the near future.
“There is no way at this time, to guarantee or to regulate, to keep people from getting sick, even with pasteurization.”
“We’ve been doing it (pasteurizing milk) for more than 50 years,” Jody Vona, a milk processor noted, “and dairy farms have made a huge contribution in the quality of our milk, but it isn’t possible to inspect each individual cow.”
There was a short discussion about the legal ramifications of allowing raw milk sales.
Dairyman, Allen Stiles of Westminster, Md. said, he doesn’t believe raw milk sales should be approved until “it can be reasonably proven it is safe.”
Barbara Brookmyer, a Maryland Health Officer with the Frederick County Health Department, said she is pretty sure all health organizations in the state would support the need for protecting public health through pasteurization of milk.
Steve Connelly from USDA FSA, spoke briefly about the Farm Service Agency income loss program, noting that it is in effect and sign-up is going on now.
Mark Powell, chief of of Maryland Department of Agriculture’s marketing and agriculture development, asked for any recommendations for the annual report including any on raw milk, and Pat McMillan, assistant secretary at MDA, noted that some solution to the raw milk question was needed and recommendations should be sent to Powell’s office.
Along with the raw milk discussion, Dave Czorapinski of the Maryland State Highway Administration, gave an explanation of the most recent milk hauling law, showing pictures of trucks circumventing the law in various ways by avoiding censors and driving over the center line.