Iowa House Committee Considers Allowing Raw Milk Sales

Published March 5, 2018

The Iowa House of Representatives Committee on Local Government is considering a bill that would allow people to purchase unpasteurized milk, commonly referred to as raw milk.

House File 2055 (H.F. 2055) was assigned to the committee in February after a subcommittee recommended approval on January 24.

The committee has not scheduled a date to consider H.F. 2055.

Direct, Voluntary Purchases

H.F. 2055’s sponsor, state Rep. Greg Heartsill (R-Chariton), says the bill would allow people to buy the milk only directly from farmers.

“It will allow them to go directly to the producer’s farm to purchase it, or they could make arrangements for the producer to deliver it to them,” Heartsill said. “It would be a direct sale of unprocessed milk, provided that the milk that was being bought had a warning label on it, warning the consumer that the milk was unprocessed and raw and that there might be some potential health risks associated with it.”

Elizabeth Rich, executive director of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, says informed consent, not bans and regulations, should drive public health policy such as food issues.

“I think it’s valid to raise the health issues but address those by putting warning labels on products and educating consumers and producers,” Rich said. “Let’s not make food regulation from a place of fear; let’s make it from a place of information and informed respect for people’s food choices.”

More Power for Consumers

Heartsill says his bill would stop the government from interfering in a personal choice.

“It’s essentially just giving the consumer the opportunity, the freedom, to choose the food products they want for themselves and their families,” Heartsill said. “We want to support consumers’ right to choose this food for themselves, if that’s what they want.”

Direct Sale, Informed Consent

Heartsill says his bill would ensure people interested in buying raw milk know what they are buying.

“The way we have it structured in the bill is that this has to be a direct sale from the producer of the raw milk,” Heartsill said. “It’s not like somebody would accidentally buy raw milk from the grocery store and get sick from it.”