For a limited government guy like myself, there are a lot of laws that make me shake my head. But then there are some laws that make me shake my head in shame. You know, the ones that make you wonder if this is really America we are living in?
To me, laws prohibiting the sale of raw milk are ridiculous, pathetic, ludicrous, intrusive, overreaching, unnecessary, and yes… even un-American. Nevertheless, even on the “Northern Plains” of North Dakota our people are prohibited from selling raw milk for human consumption. For a state that prides itself on good ‘ol fashioned common sense, we should be embarrassed that we would permit our legislature to prohibit such a thing.
Thankfully, one legislator is fighting back. Rep. Luke Simons (R – District 36), a rancher from Dickinson and first term member of the North Dakota House, is sponsoring House Bill 1433 which would legalize the sale of raw milk (among other things) for human consumption. Simons is now known for drinking raw milk on the House floor. A political statement to go with the health benefits for sure.
I spoke with a few legislators recently – Rep. Simons being one of them – and they all expressed to me the uphill battle HB 1433 may have.
I do not know your background, but I grew up with raw milk. If we did not have milk cows ourselves, we could travel close by to a friend of my father’s who had a dairy. I recall the wonderful milk and the cream my mother used to churn butter by hand. Perhaps I am biased, but it did not get any better than that when it came to dairy products. The funny thing is that my parents and all my siblings are still alive. Not one of us ever got sick from it.
Now, lest anyone think I am intentionally leaving information out, I should probably mention that there is a loophole in the North Dakota law. Individuals can consume their own raw milk. In fact, you can buy shares in the neighbor’s cow and consume that milk too. But why should you have to? You shouldn’t.
It is estimated that over 10 million people consume raw milk annually. One study showed that people had just a 0.001% (one one-thousandth of a percent) chance of becoming ill from it. Compare that to the U.S. Department of Transportation statistics – where 1 in 8,000 die in motor vehicle accidents. and you have a 750 times greater possibility of dying in a car accident than you do getting ill from raw milk consumption.
When comparing foodborne illnesses, seafood is by far the worst. You are 29 times more likely to get sick from seafood than from dairy. Incidentally, dairy is the least likely food to get a foodborne illness from.
All across North Dakota – together with the rest of the nation – there are millions of people whose grandfathers and great-grandfathers had dairy cows. Some of them even sold their raw milk to others. That means that if they were alive today, doing the same thing, they would be considered criminals in some states like North Dakota… and that is just downright ridiculous.
I do not know about you, but I am perfectly capable of determining whether to ingest raw milk without the assistance of the state. So, please, contact your legislators and let them know you support HB 1433.