Texans can buy raw milk from licensed dairies, but the regulations require that consumers drive out to the farm, which may be several hours away, to get it. The state health department says that any form of delivery or group purchasing – including private drop points or friends picking up milk for each other – is illegal.
We have an opportunity to change that and improve access to raw milk in Texas! HB 46, filed by Representative Flynn, will allow licensed raw milk farmers to sell their products at farmers markets. It will also allow consumers and farmers to agree on delivery arrangements. This would continue the direct farmer-to-consumer relationship, while ensuring that raw milk is safe and accessible to both rural and urban customers.
HB 46 is critical for reasonable access to raw milk in our state. If this bill passes, farmers will be able to reach new markets, and consumers will be able to save the time and money they now spend driving (often an hour or more each way) to get milk.
- Call your State Representative, and urge him or her to co-author the bill. You can find out who represents you by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630 – tell them your address, and they can connect you to your Representative’s office. You can also look up your legislators online at www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us (*see sample message below).
- Email Representative Flynn at Dan.Flynn@house.state.tx.us to thank him for filing the bill.
- Donate to the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance to support our work to pass HB 46 and other local foods bills. If you donate now, your donation will be matched two-to-one by a generous donor, so you support will go three times as far! www.farmandranchfreedom.org/join-us
*Message: “Hi, my name is ____ and I am a constituent. I am calling to ask Representative ____ to please support HB 46, the raw milk bill.”
If you have a few minutes, talk with the staffer about why raw milk is important to you and your family.
- HB 46 would allow licensed farmers to sell raw milk at farmers markets and through delivery arrangements.
- The bill does only one thing: it removes the unnecessary marketing barrier to the sale of Grade A raw dairy products.
- The bill makes no other change to the existing regulatory requirements for raw dairy that have been successful in protecting the public’s health in Texas.
- Sales will continue to be limited to direct-to-consumer transactions, as they are currently. The bill does not allow sales of raw milk in grocery stores.
This bill has many advantages:
- 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 – which impacts the entire community.
- Improves the safety of raw dairy by allowing producers to transport it to 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 – the bill reduces vehicle miles, improving air quality, traffic congestion, and public safety.
- Addresses the needs of elderly or disabled consumers who wish to purchase raw dairy products and who have difficulty, or who are unable, to drive to distant farms.
- Raw milk has an excellent safety record in Texas. According to the CDC, between 1998 and 2008, there were only two reported cases of illness from raw milk in our state. In that same time period in Texas, there were over 12,000 foodborne illnesses reported traced to such foods as strawberries, mangos, beans, lettuce salads, salsa, cheeses, pot pie, chicken salad, hot dogs, deli meats, beef brisket, etc. Any food carries some risk of foodborne illness, but licensed raw milk farmers take extensive precautions to ensure the safety and quality of their product.