Raw Milk / HB 46 – Resources

The following is a list of resources you can use in talking with your State Representatives and/or sharing information with members of your organization or community. Don’t forget to join us on Tuesday, March 19 at the Capitol in Austin, Texas for our Local Foods Citizens Lobbying Day!

You can also read the content from these information sheets below:

 

Want to be Able to Buy Farm-Fresh (Raw) Milk?

Help Make Raw Milk Sales Legal at Farmer Markets, Drop Points, and Through Delivery!

 
cows-on-pasture-enhanced-webTexans can legally buy raw milk from licensed Texas dairies. But the government requires consumers to drive to the farm – which may be 2 or 3 hours away – to get it. A Texas farmer recently had his license suspended for delivering to a private home. The law burdens consumers, and it penalizes family farmers who are unfairly prevented from marketing their milk.

HB 46 would expand legal sales of raw milk by licensed farmers directly to consumers by allowing sales at farmers markets and farm stands, and by allowing farmers and consumers to agree to delivery arrangements.

Authors: Dan Flynn, Dennis Bonnen, Jodie Laubenberg, and Bill Zedler; Co-Authors: Lance Gooden, Lyle Larson, Rick Miller, Eddie Rodriguez, David Simpson, and Steve Toth

Supporting Organizations: Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance; Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund; Fair Market (Tyler); The Heritage Guild of Collin County and Chestnut Square Historic Village; Jacksonville Farmers’ Market; Manor Farmers’ Market; Slow Food Austin; Slow Food South Texas; Sustainable Food Center; Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; Weston A. Price Foundation

  

HB 46: FACTS ABOUT THE BILL
  • Does only one thing: removes the on-farm restriction on the sale of Grade A raw milk. Would allow licensed farmers to sell raw milk at farmers markets and through delivery arrangements.
  • Makes no other change to the existing health and safety regulations for raw milk 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.
  • Does not allow sales of raw milk in grocery stores.

Many Advantages to HB 46…

  • Improves the safety of raw milk by allowing producers to transport it to consumers under safe conditions, rather than relying on consumers to remember to take coolers and ice.
  • 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, thereby benefiting air quality, traffic congestion, and public safety.
  • 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.
  • Addresses the consumer demand for high-quality raw milk by making it available at farmers markets and through home delivery.
  • No negative impact on conventional grocery store sales (supporting data available).

What can you do? Call your State Representative and ask him or her to CO-AUTHOR HB 46.

 
 

TAKE ACTION

The legislators need to hear from YOU! The chance of HB 46 passing this session depends heavily on the voice of Texas local foods consumers. It only takes a few minutes to contact your legislator, and it really does make a difference. Here are some helpful steps:

1. You can find out who your legislators are at www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630. The Switchboard can connect you directly to their offices.

 

2. Call your State Representative. Message: “Hi, my name is ____ and I am a constituent. I am calling to urge Representative ___ to co-author HB 46, to legalize the sale of raw milk at farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer options. Do you know where he/she stands on this bill?”

If the staffer says they don’t know the Representative’s position (which is a common response), say: “I would very much appreciate it if you could call me back after talking with the Representative. This issue is very important to me and my family.” You can also offer to send them materials about the bill via email.

The Representatives listed below are on the Calendars Committee. Their vote will determine whether this bill moves forward or dies without being voted on. Please make a special effort to call if you are in one of these districts (note that the zip codes are often “split” among multiple districts):

MEMBERS OF THE CALENDARS COMMITTEE

    • Todd Hunter – Chair (part of Nueces County – Zip Codes 78343, 78373, 78401, 78404, 78407, 78411, 78412, 78413, 78414, 78415, 78417, 78418, 78419) | Phone: 512-463-0672 | Email: Todd.Hunter@house.state.tx.us
    • Eddie Lucio III – Vice Chair (part of Cameron County – Zip Codes 78520, 78521, 78526, 78550, 78552, 78559, 78566, 78575, 78583, 78586) |  Phone: 512-463-0606 | Email: Eddie.Lucio@house.state.tx.us
    • Roberto Alonzo (part of Dallas County – Zip Codes 75050, 75051, 75052, 75060, 75203, 75208, 75211, 75212, 75216, 75224, 75233) | Phone: 512-463-0408 | Email: Roberto.Alonzo@house.state.tx.us
    • Carol Alvarado (part of Harris County – Zip Codes 77002, 77003, 77007, 77009, 77011, 77012, 77017, 77023, 77026, 77034, 77087, 77089, 77504, 77587) | Phone: 463-0732 | Email: Carol.Alvarado@house.state.tx.us
    • Dan Branch (part of Dallas County – Zip Codes 75201, 75202, 75204, 75205, 75206, 75209, 75214, 75219, 75220, 75223, 75225, 75226, 75230, 75231, 75246) | Phone: 512-463-0367 | Email: Dan.Branch@house.state.tx.us
    • Angie Chen Button (part of Dallas County – Zip Codes 75040, 75042, 75044, 75048, 75080, 75081, 75082, 75089, 75098, 75243) | Phone: 512-463-0486 | Email: Angie.Button@house.state.tx.us
    • Byron Cook (Anderson, Freestone, Hill, and Navarro Counties) | Phone: 512-463-0730 | Email: Byron.Cook@house.state.tx.us *
    •  Myra Crownover (part of Denton County – Zip Codes 75065, 76201, 76205, 76207, 76208, 76210, 76226, 76227, 76234, 76249, 76258, 76259, 762669) | Phone: 512-463-0582 | Email: Myra.Crownover@house.state.tx.us
    • Sarah Davis (part of Harris County – Zip Codes 77002, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 019, 024, 025, 027, 030, 046, 056, 057, 081, 096, 098, 401) | Phone: 512-463-0389 | Email: Sarah.Davis@house.state.tx.us
    • Craig Eiland (Chambers County, part of Galveston County – Zip Codes 77510, 77518, 77539, 77550, 77551, 77554, 77563, 77568, 77573, 77590, 77591, 77650) | Phone: 512-463-0502 | Email: Craig.Eiland@house.state.tx.us
    • John Frullo (part of Lubbock County – Zip Codes 79401, 79403, 79404, 79407, 79409, 79410, 79411, 79412, 79413, 79414, 79415, 79416, 79423, 79424) | Phone: 512-463-0676 | Email: John.Frullo@house.state.tx.us
    • Charlie Geren (part of Tarrant County – Zip Codes 76020, 76052, 76071, 76107, 76108, 76114, 76116, 76127, 76131, 76135, 76179) | Phone: 512-463-0610 | Email: Charlie.Geren@house.state.tx.us
    • Helen Giddings (part of Dallas County – Zip Codes 75104, 75115, 75125, 75134, 75141, 75146, 75154, 75159, 75172, 75180, 75216, 75217, 75232, 75241, 75249, 75253) | Phone: 512-463-0953 | Email: Helen.Giddings@house.state.tx.us
    • Edmund Kuempel (Guadalupe and Wilson Counties) | Phone: 512-463-0602 | Email: Edmund.Kuempel@house.state.tx.us
    • Doug Miller (Comal, Gillespie, and Kendall Counties) | Phone: 512-463-0325 | Email: Doug.Miller@house.state.tx.us

 

3. Then, call your State Senator and ask him or her to support HB 46 when it comes to the Senate.

 
 

BACKGROUND ON RAW MILK IN TEXAS
  • Under current law, farmers can legally sell raw milk in Texas directly to consumers under a Grade A Raw for Retail license. Texas Grade A Raw for Retail dairies are subject to regulations that meet or exceed all regulatory standards for pasteurized milk.
  • Agency regulations limit the sales to “the point of production, i.e., at the farm.” This marketing restriction burdens both farmers and consumers. Farmers who invest significant resources to become licensed face unfair limitations. Consumers who want unprocessed food must expend significant time, gas, and money on long weekly drives.
  • Texas raw milk farmers have an excellent safety record. CDC data from 1998-2008 show that there were only two reported illnesses attributed to raw milk in Texas during that time. Since 2008, there have been 4 additional illnesses allegedly linked to raw milk, for a total of 6 illnesses in 15 years.
  • Approximately 12,500 foodborne illnesses were reported in Texas between 1998 and 2010, traced to such foods as mangos, cake, beans, lettuce salads, salsa, pot pie, chicken salad, hot dogs, deli meats, and beef brisket.
  • Raw milk has a better safety record in Texas than many foods, including strawberries (29 illnesses), chicken soup (47 illnesses), and turkey (852 illnesses).