North Dakota Bill May Ban Raw Milk


There have been a lot of stories recently about American citizens being fined and even arrested for selling raw milk. The argument is that raw milk can make people sick because it isn’t pasteurized, but anybody who grew up on a farm (I’m told, since I was never a farm kid) grew up drinking milk straight out of the cow.

But there are risks, and the government thinks that’s justification for shutting down raw milk operations altogether even when they consist of transactions from people who are transparent about the fact that they’re selling raw milk to people who know they’re buying raw milk. In fact, at one point the Obama administration argued in federal court that Americans “do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”

Because it’s not like this is a free country or anything.

Here in North Dakota purchasing raw milk is only legal through so-called “cow shares” (where people collective purchase a cow and share it’s milk), but an amendment to SB2072 would ban that practice.

As you can see on the state bill tracking website, SB2072 started off as a simple updating of state law to reflect changes in federal milk guidelines, but a reader was kind enough to email an image of the proposed language:


I’m not a fan of raw milk personally, but that’s a choice I make for myself. Why shouldn’t others, informed of what risks to drinking raw milk there may be, be denied their own choice?

The government has no business getting between willing sellers and willing buyers.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • RCND

    “You’ll drink what your told!”

    • The Whistler

      And like it!

  • toomuchguvmint

    And the question for the legislature is – Would prohibition of raw milk work? I am sure the legislature and the ag department could find more than enough funds to create a security force to enforce this with an iron fist. I wonder how many people are killed with drivers consuming raw milk? Sounds alot like Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban.

    • mikemc1970

      You don’t need an enforcement wing. The FDA would be happy to SWAT raid any peaceful Amish dairy farms in your area with automatic weapons in order to put down this disturbing menace to society.

      • The Whistler

        It’s better to terrorize peaceful people because you could get hurt busting the gangbangers. Same principle applies to the TSA.

      • ec99

        Better they SWAT their damn puppy farms.

      • toomuchguvmint

        Maybe they can bring to justice those law breaking grandmothers.

    • The Fighting Czech

      Now we know why they needed to buy all that ammunition!!!!

  • Game

    I did grow up on a dairy farm, and I have drank raw milk. First off, I don’t think anybody drinks it “right from the cow”. That is sort of gross, but the type of thing “city folk” would think everybody on a farm does.

    I did drink milk that was raw after it had been in the milk tank. I do not like it, however, the cream was the best. I miss that more than anything. (The family dairy farm shut down about 20 years ago).

    I am not a fan of this proposed law, however, I do think it is stupid when people attempt to sell raw milk as an alternative to store bought milk.

    • Doc

      Some people do, and swear that it has benefits that even chilled milk lacks, particularly for immune-mediated diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and chrohns disease. Whether or not it’s straight from the cow though, there were lots of Doctors as recently as the 30s and 40s who routinely “prescribed” raw milk ( for various ailments. As an animal health professional, I am fully aware of the concerns about raw milk distribution schemes, but this bill is about the right of citizens enjoy and manage their own personal property as they see fit. Large raw milk distribution networks may be problematic because of handling safety concerns; fecal contamination especially could cause all sorts of problems, but this is a separate issue. Should regular dairies be able to skirt milk inspection laws by establishing “herd shares”? Probably not- but outlawing cooperative relationships among people at the local level falls in a completely different category in my opinion. The last thing we need is more draconian governmental oversight of private affairs. I hope the amendment fails. FWIW.

    • Rob

      Well, by “right from the cow” I meant without the usual sort of processing.

      Though I’m pretty sure my grandma told me about drinking milk out of the buckets her dad brought in from the barn. Like I said, I didn’t grow up on a farm.

      But whether you or I like it or not, to each their own. Free people should be, you know, free.

      • $8194357

        We drank it warm fresh from the buckets.

    • badlands4

      Both of my grandparents had their milk directly from the cow to the house and they were not “city folk”. Like Rob, when I say directly from the cow, I mean no intermediary between the milking and the consuming. And would I drink raw milk? No. when I lived in Turkey raw goats milk was what was sold in most places. I had no interest in it and didn’t think it was particularly safe, but it was MY choice, just as it should be my choice to drink milk directly from my cow or goat. And like you, my grandmother still waxes poetically about fresh cream ;)

      • badlands4

        That should be buy it directly from my neighbor’s cow or goat, or the Amish family down the road. directly from the milker to my fridge. I buy my eggs directly from my neighbor. They are cheap because they are not candled or washed. I do that, but I also trust them because I know how she treats her chickens and I don’t have to wonder what some third party is doing with/to those eggs before I buy them.

        • Jennifer

          or what she’s feeding her chickens

    • JoeMN

      I grew up on raw milk as well.

      We never became ill from it, but I do recall it having a shorter shelf life..
      It’s for this reason I wouldn’t bother with it. And if I did have raw milk from another source I would likely pasteurize it anyway.
      It took me years after the cows left to get used to that “water” they called whole milk.

      The biggest concern in raw milk is the prevalence of Campylobacter bacteria.

      Plus a few cases of E Coli, Listeria and Salmonella.

      And many of these were from cross contamination during/after pasteurization at a USDA inspected plant.

      But if these were of such concern, we would have already banned raw meat and chicken. ( maybe I shouldn’t give the liberal nanny state any ideas)

      • flamemeister

        “Pasteurized milk from the store that goes bad must be thrown out. It is putrid. It can make you sick if you consume it. It is full of pathogenic bacteria.

        “Real milk fresh from a happy, healthy, pastured cow that has soured has not gone bad. It has clabbered which means the good bacteria have simply consumed a good portion of the milk sugar (lactose), thereby giving the milk a more yogurt-like smell and taste.

        “Clabbered milk is totally fine and healthy to eat. Do not throw it out! There are many uses for such a wonderful food, which that article details.”

      • Jennifer
    • Jennifer

      my husband frequently takes his coffee cup up to the milking barn and squirts milk into it ‘right from the goat’ and it is like a cappuchino – all frothy. Yum…

  • nimrod

    I read the news on a regular basis, and I am not aware of any problems with people abusing raw milk. I have heard those who believe pasteurized process kills some of the beneficial bacteria in fresh milk.

  • Wild and Free

    Lactose intolerance didn’t exist before pasturization as this kills the natural enzymes in the milk that help the body break down lactose. I was breast fed raw milk and I am still alive and healthy and disease free for 42 years, refrigeration has made any issue raw milk could have had a thing of the past fifty years ago, This is just more subsidised big industry trying to keep us under their total control and to prevent any competition from smaller sources. I too drank raw milk until I was about 16 years old with no issues.

    • ec99

      This is reflective of the unbridled avariciousness of the dairy industry in North Dakota which seeks to make sure all are victims of the outrageous price-fixing of a commodity for which there is a glut.

  • badlands4

    Hmmm…I haven’t been able to totally verify this, but I have read several articles about the government getting ready to approve milk producers putting aspartame in milk w/o warnings. Aspartame is your choice to consume, but it isn’t a good thing, particularly for pregnant women. So, Aspartame fine, but raw, all natural, directly from the source is bad. I thought we WANTED access to local, fresh products? Can’t get any fresher than milk directly from a cow,

    If I want raw milk or raw honey, or eggs straight from a chicken or personally harvested wildlife that is my right

    • $8194357

      The leftist facist utopia agendas in play.
      A citizenry “totally” dependent on governmental benevolence for “all” its needs.

    • Planter

      Aspartame is poison, when its in your body it turns into formaldehyde and gives you a slew of health problems and they want to put that in milk?

  • flamemeister

    We drink raw milk fairly regularly. The cream is superb, and you can easily make fresh butter from it. I consider it a delicacy, fabulous with oatmeal and raisins. I can only guess that people who don’t like fresh milk are the same people who would think a real fresh egg tastes “funny,” mainly because it is next to impossible to get an genuinely fresh egg so they’ve never had one before. Our taste buds are shot from decades of eating science-food. People eat crap masked with sugar; in fact, the appreciation of food is damn near in direct proportion to how sugar-loaded it is.

    • VocalYokel

      “The cream is superb, and you can easily make fresh butter from it.”

      And don’t forget cream and bread (Grandma’s homemade bread of course!)

      • flamemeister

        I will never forget it. It was a common lunch at my grandmother’s, with a dusting of sugar.

        • SusanBeehler

          I will never forget how many siblings were lost by my mom contracting brucellosis (undulant fever), from raw milk. If you are pro-life you would support pasteurization. We forget the history of the cases of infection which would rob moms of their babies before they had a chance to be born. It was a real problem and people may have forgotten the little ones lost to unpasteurized milk. I have not forgot, my mom did not forget.

          • flamemeister

            Dang! Now you’ve got me scared poopless!

            Our family has used raw milk for generations. They have lived in several different areas of the Upper Midwest. There have been no cases of brucellosis. Nor have I heard of anyone getting brucellosis. Maybe you should have taken notice when your cows—or, more likely, goats—started dropping dead. There are about 100 cases of brucellosis reported nationwide per year, mostly in California and Texas. Even if you confine the rate to those drinking raw milk, that’s pretty low—and not all cases are fatal. Do you have the news story backing up your claim about your mother losing “many siblings?” Sounds either like a lie or a defamation of your mother.

          • SusanBeehler

            Yes woman always post in a newspaper when they miscarry, let me see if I can find the clipping along with when they were fertile too. (I am being sarcastic, I hope you were too)
            You are the one suggesting my mother and her doctor were lying, you prove it is not a lie. I will believe mom!

          • flamemeister

            I would think miscarriages diagnosed as due to brucellosis infection would have been newsworthy, and possibly reportable to the state health agency. It may also be possible that it was merely conjecture on the part of the physician and that other factors were involved. But you can keep your scare story close to your heart if you wish.

          • flamemeister

            P.S.—Zero (0) cases of human brucellosis reported in N.D. from 1993-2002. I really have to wonder about your parents. Were you raised anywhere near Hog Wallow, Arkansas? How early did you start chewin’ tabacky?

          • SusanBeehler

            My mother is dead and this is what she was told by her doctor. Maybe Brucellosis is wiped out much like small pox, I don’t know, I don’t drink much milk never have liked the taste of it. All I know my mom suffered mutiple miscarriages from undulant fever. She was 92 when she passed and she grow up on a farm in South Dakota and drank raw milk. Maybe pasteurization is a grand conspiracy, maybe undulant fever is no longer a problem because of pasteurization. Go ahead and drink it raw, give it to your daughters and test the theory. I rather err on the side of safety, than do something my mom was living proof affected her, but if you rather take the chance of killing your offspring so be it, Do you think it is okay to drink alchol while pregnant too?

          • Onslaught1066

            All I know my mom suffered mutiple(sic) miscarriages

            Were these before or after you were whelped?

            If before, did she learn her lesson from your pitiful example, if after, why not?

          • flamemeister

            How do you ever get up the bravery to get out of bed in the morning? And you are bringing up an example from 60-70 years ago? Antibiotics were barely available. Oh … now I get it … the doctor was a vet!

  • Stuart

    I grew up drinking raw milk, and they had oleo margerine we had to squize a bubble of food coloring into it to make it yellow.Thousands of people if not hundreds of thousand people did this and so did my children. Too bad the enterprenual alarmists couldn’t have been around when I was young or my children were drinking it and we all survived and are healthy.
    Do these people in Congress have too much time on their hands?

  • KJUU

    Why are they doing this? Because they can.

    One day North Dakotans will wake up and wonder what happened to their once-free state.

    • flamemeister

      I spent a month in my home state of ND in 2001. It had a strong libertarian feel. I returned in 2007 to live there. I wondered then what happened to my once-free state. In less than 6 years it seemed well on its way to Californication.

      • $8194357

        RINOS from the NPL are clones of the NPL Democrats.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    Here we see the results of the greedy intersection of government, big Ag, and business.

    Let people drink what they want.

  • Kim

    Rob, we purchase raw milk from a top-notch dairy here. We do not drink it exclusively but we do use it in making homemade yogurt, buttermilk, in baking/cooking and in some regular consumption. We have the dairy skim the cream for us and churn butter out, which we use in baking and we take the buttermilk left and use that too. We also buy regular milk as well. I personally prefer the taste of the raw milk. The dairy we purchase from is amazing in how they handle everything and we have never, ever had any issues at all… I agree with what you said in that it’s your choice not to use it because it is… Personal choice. The people on the committee have heard from us as well as the person with the North Dakota Dairy Association…

    • Rob

      Well said Kim,

      My personal preference with regard to milk is just that, a personal preference. You should be free to purchase what you want.

  • Guest Observer

    I grew up on a dairy farm and we got our milk right from the bulk tank. Drank it, used it in cereal etc from birth to I was 18. Sure miss it and be damned that the ND Legislature would try to pass a bill like this. My Dad would be spinning in his grave!!

  • The Fighting Czech

    Man, ” Its refreshing to see those guys taking really big problems like Raw Milk head on…. Good Lord, the weight of everyones safety must weigh heavy on their minds….How do they ever sleep???? What can they do for us next???? Maybe they can make a law that We have to wear a helmet, knee, elbow, and forearm pads as well as a Cup (when applicable!!) when ever we bath…. Someone has already fallen in the bathtub this year….Its the start of a problem of epidemic proportions… I sure hope they hurry up and make that a law…. Im too scared to take a shower now….

    and they actually think they need longer sessions!!!!

    • camsaure

      Yeah, thank heavens they have already protected us from bottle rockets too. Damn RINOs.

  • FEDup!

    Guess I have to add my 2-cents worth, plenty of good opinions really. But this is certainly about control, making sure the dairy subsidy is not undercut, making sure that farm folk can’t just do what they want. More laws, rules, regulations, fines, just cannot take the chance people might be self sufficient, or let them think they have freedom do do as they please without answering to FEDs.

    I grew up on raw milk. The thing is homoginization is worse than pasturization. If raw milk sours you can use it for baking, or make buttermilk, or feed the pigs. But homoginized milk does not sour, it rots. It is absolutely terrible, I am not sure but what it may be poison, Yuk!

    I know a young fellow in his teens in N. Central ND that has built his own buisness with cow shares. Its hard work and takes a lot of grit. He has cow-sharers that want the raw milk because they know the natural enzymes are better for you. They know the risks and they willingly share the produce. I think they should not have to be told they cannot do that. I live in MN and I don’t think we can do it here any more. FEDs come with “big guns” if you sell raw milk.

    Like NYC, 16oz drinks, no guns, more restrictions, in NJ can’t idle your car for more than 3 minute, . You know you would think the life expectancy should soon exceed 120 years with all the EPA, FDA, ATF, OSHA, and on and on. You would think the government really cared about people, ha! They want slavery, drones.

    I would urge North Dakotans to stand up against this! Keep your freedom, we already lost it in MN. They want more and more and more of our money and liberty!

    It would be better to die free to drink raw milk than to die in slavery – you will die either way.

  • countryjoe

    Lots of misinformation about raw milk verse pasturized milk in this comment section…do your own homework on this, google raw verses pasturized..lots of factual info there….milk from the cow must be chilled ( iced )down then stored in refrigeration at less than 38 deg and will be good for almost 4 weeks…pasturization ( heat treatment ) of the milk to kill ( bad ) bacteria ( this is mainly done to cows that are trough feed )because the cows are strapped and milked in the same place until sold for ground meat or dog food and they dont want to spend the time to clean the teet for the suction tube so they have to kill all the bacteria …good and bad …true over 90 % of people who are lactose intolerant can drink raw with no problems and true ..doctors use to perscribe raw milk as medicine ….true that the best milk is from a happy who eats grasses and not traditional cowfeed out of a bag…you see the suns energy is obsorbed in the grasses and transfered into the cow and into the milk..

    • JoeMN

      Lots of misinformation about raw milk verse pasturized milk in this comment

      they dont want to spend the time to clean the teet for the suction tube so they have to kill all the bacteria
      Your typical dairy is very meticulous over preparing the cow pre-milking
      They have financial incentive to keep bacteria counts low.

      Some of the healthiest cows can be found in stall type setups.
      The cows can be kept cleaner, drier, and more comfortable

      The heat, cold, mud and insects common in strictly pastured cattle can cause quite a few challenges

      Also pastured cattle here seem to make it to “ground beef or dog food” much sooner.
      This is because the quality of forage from a pasture cannot be controlled quite like mechanically harvested and stored feed can

  • Jennifer

    if there’s a risk drinking raw milk so the government wants to ban it, and recently the FDA stated that the riskiest food are fresh greens (as shown by the number of people who have been sick and died from eating tainted greens) then shouldn’t they also ban greens, peanuts, meat, tomatoes, etc? At the same time, they admitted that no one has died from raw milk in years.

  • Momma dawn

    We have got to take back America from these idiots who are imposing more and restrictions on our lives. We need to stand up before it is to late.