Raw Milk Bill Draws Proponents, Detractors to Hearing

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, said that legislation he authored to expand options for selling unpasteurized milk in Texas quickly received praise from across the state.

"When I filed this bill during early filing, I got over 500 emails that week in support from the Panhandle to the Rio Grande Valley," Flynn said Wednesday. "It's a product, there's a public that wants it. If they can buy it at one place, they should be able to buy it elsewhere."

Flynn's legislation, House Bill 46, would allow the sale of raw milk at farmers markets and other sites like fairs and flea markets.

And while many testified Wednesday in support of his measure at a House Public Health Committee hearing, a few raised concerns about regulation and health risks.

Currently, farmers who produce unpasteurized milk can only sell it at the site of the dairy. That means customers of the state's 49 licensed farms that produce raw milk have to drive to the farms, which may be several hours away.

Robert Hutchins, whose family owns Rehoboth Ranch in Greenville, sell beef and other products at farmers markets every week but can only sell their raw goat milk at the Greenville property, he said.

"We haven't been able to grow the dairy adequately to become as profitable as we need to be to continue our operation," Hutchins said. "If we could sell our milk at farmer's markets to which we already travel every week, we could double or triple the amount we sell every week."

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