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Delaware Senate Republicans

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Legalize Sale of Raw Milk

May 14, 2024

Committee hearing scheduled for May 15, 2024.

DOVER, DE – Delaware would join a growing list of states to permit the sale of raw milk under a proposal recently introduced in the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 273 (SB 273), authored by Senator Eric Buckson (R – South Dover) and sponsored by a large, bipartisan contingent of legislators, would legalize the sale of unpasteurized, unprocessed milk directly from dairy producers to consumers.

“Constituents and advocates across Delaware have been consuming raw milk for decades, having to cross state lines to purchase the product legally,” Senator Buckson said. “This bill would speak to the growing demand and create new economic opportunities within our agriculture community.”

Earlier attempts to legalize the sale of raw milk have stalled despite bipartisan sponsorship. In addition to potential health benefits, supporters argued the bill would revitalize Delaware’s dairy industry. Currently, only 13 dairy farms are still in operation in the state, down from 77* when similar legislation was introduced in 2014.

Currently, 26 states allow the sale of unpasteurized dairy milk for human consumption.

Rep. Mike Smith (R – Pike Creek Valley), a prime sponsor of the bill, stated, “Being a House sponsor of this bill was a very easy decision for me. Consistent with other similar economic development measures I have sponsored in the General Assembly, this bill offers consumers the purchase power in the event they have a desire to buy raw milk. With having Woodside Farm Creamery – one of the few dairy farms left in Delaware – located in my district, this bill provides another great opportunity to help support ‘shopping local’ first.”

Advocates state that raw milk is beneficial, noting that the pasteurization process removes essential nutrients that support the immune system. Supporters say that raw milk contains more probiotics, beneficial bacteria, and enzymes than milk that has been processed.

“Access to raw milk is an issue that brings people together. It is currently available for purchase in states as distinct as California and South Carolina,” said Rep. Sean Matthews (D – Chalfonte). “Many people, including myself, have experienced personal health benefits from consuming raw milk products. Delaware’s skilled dairy farmers take the production practices required to produce raw milk seriously and these farming practices will encourage and support local, clean and sustainable farming. Delawareans who desire to drink or sell raw milk deserve access to this product without government interference.”

SB 273 has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee and will receive a hearing on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 11:00 a.m.

*Delaware Agricultural Statistics Bulletin, 2014-2015

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