Whether you call it real milk, farm fresh milk, or raw milk, Texans can buy unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk from cows and goats that are raised on pasture-based farms. But consumers' choices are limited by regulations that limit sales to "the point of production, i.e. the farm."
In other words, to buy raw milk, individuals have to drive out to the farm, which may be 2 or 3 hours away. This regulation burdens consumers and penalizes family farmers.
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Texas law authorizes the Texas Department of Health to regulate the grading and labeling of milk and milk products. Under the Department’s current regulations, Grade A raw milk “may be sold by the producer directly to the consumer only at the point of production, i.e., at the farm.” 25 TAC §217.32. The Department staff has interpreted the regulation to require that each customer drive to the farm each and every time the customer wishes to purchase milk.
Texas legislators need to step in and protect Texas consumers and family farmers by removing this unnecessary and burdensome regulation!
Key Points for Legislation
- Keep the direct farmer-to-consumer relationship (i.e. no wholesale sales), to ensure that raw dairy is available only to those who intentionally seek it out and that the consumers know the source;
- Keep the sanitary requirements for raw dairy;
- Remove the unnecessary marketing barrier to the sale of Grade A raw dairy products by allowing farmers to bring raw milk to farmers markets, farm stands, and other agreed-upon locations.
- Improves the safety of raw dairy by allowing producers to transport it to the consumers under safe conditions;
- By allowing a producer to make a single trip to serve multiple customers, rather than having each customer drive to the farm, this proposal reduces vehicle miles, benefiting air quality, traffic congestion, and public safety;
- Addresses the needs of elderly, disabled, and low-income consumers who wish to purchase raw dairy products and who have difficulty, or who are unable, to drive to distant farms;
- Improves farm bio-security. While the farmers welcome visitors, it is an unnecessary risk to have dozens or even hundreds of people coming out to the farm each and every week;
- Benefits rural economies because direct farm-to-consumer sales of raw milk can mean the difference between a net loss on the farm and a reasonable income for the farm family. When family farmers can make a fair living, the economy of the entire community benefits!