September 17, 2019
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Bill that would have allowed the sale of raw milk rejected for second time in two years

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Dan Brown pets Sprocket, family's four-year-old, sole milking cow, before hosing her down at family's Gravel Wood Farm on the Blue Hill peninsula Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A measure that would have allowed farmers to sell unpasteurized milk directly to consumers who visit their property was rejected by the House of Representatives on Monday.

LD 1786 is similar to a bill that was vetoed in 2013 by Gov. Paul LePage. The concept failed again Monday in the House by a bipartisan vote of 71-65 in favor of ought not to pass. The bill would allow the sale of unregulated, unpasteurized milk and milk products by farmers at their farms, at farm stands on their property or at restaurants contiguous to their farms.

The bill also would have required distributors of raw milk to take a dairy sanitation class at the University of Maine every three years and have their water tested once a year if they do not have a public water supply. Only in the event of an illness suffered by a consumer would the Department of Agriculture be authorized to inspect the premises. Consumers would also be allowed to visually inspect the farms and farmers would be limited to advertising their products only through word of mouth.

Opposition that surfaced last year from the Department of Agriculture and the Cheese Guild largely evaporated this time around based on the proposal’s requirement that the products could be sold only at the site of production.

The bill faces more votes in both the House and Senate.

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