Unpasteurized milk presents sure well being dangers, in keeping with public-health specialists. (USDA NRCS Montana/Flickr)
March 5, 2021
HELENA, Mont. — A measure in Helena would give Montanans extra freedom to purchase meals from neighboring farmers and ranchers, supporters say, however the invoice is elevating issues amongst food-safety specialists.
Sen. Greg Hertz, R-Polson, the sponsor of Senate Bill 199, owns a grocery retailer and mentioned there’s demand for native merchandise like uncooked milk and meat that he cannot present.
This laws would permit that.
Mallory Scharf, public well being coverage specialist for the Missoula Metropolis-County Well being Division, countered it cuts out regulators nearly fully.
“The very slender alternative for involvement with the Well being Division regulators can be if a food-borne sickness was probably traced again to meals produced out of the house,” Scharf defined. “And that is actually a reactive manner to answer meals security, you understand, after somebody is already sick.”
A so-called “cottage food law” enacted in 2015 permits Montanans to promote meals merchandise made of their properties on to prospects, however it’s designed for meals that aren’t more likely to unfold food-borne diseases, like jams, breads and cereals.
Underneath that legislation, people should register with their native well being company.
Scharf famous about 400 permitted operators have registered greater than 6,500 merchandise.
At a public listening to in February, most of the invoice’s supporters expressed well being issues about milk purchased on the retailer, saying uncooked or unpasteurized milk is extra pure, and due to this fact more healthy.
However Scharf does not consider the invoice units up a protected path to promote uncooked milk, because it does not require any regulation, resembling monitoring or labeling.
“It is simply extra seemingly than pasteurized milk to include pathogens which can be going to trigger sickness, and it is simply been a giant public-health success to pasteurize milk,” Scharf argued. “And reversing that doesn’t seem to be good coverage for public well being.”
Federal companies just like the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention have additionally famous the hazards of uncooked milk and micro organism linked to food-borne diseases.
The invoice handed out of the Senate this week, and has been referred to the Home Human Companies Committee.