Milking a cow

It came as close as you can get, but the Montana Alliance for Raw Milk (MTARM), which would have legalized raw milk sales throughout the state of Montana, came up one vote short of passing on Thursday, reports Food Safety News.

The failure of House Bill 574 means that selling raw milk and raw dairy products (for human consumption) is still considered illegal by the state of Montana.

According to Food Safety News, the bill needed a two-thirds majority to win, but came up short by a single vote: “House Bill 574, sponsored by state Rep. Champ Edmunds (R-Missoula) went from a lofty 96-to-3 vote in the House last month to failing to achieve the 34 votes it needed in the Senate Tuesday when it garnered only a 29-to-21 favorable vote.”

Despite the loss, raw milk advocates claim that the bill would have been “unworkable” for small producers, and some were glad it failed.

The bill was designed to allow certain small farms and ranches to sell raw milk and raw milk products directly to consumers. After it went through the Montana House, it was stripped of what MTARM called “even modest regulatory requirements.” The Senate “attempted to make the bill more reasonable through amendment by reestablishing some of the state Department of Livestock’s normal regulatory oversight, the bill remained a ‘bridge too far’ for the Senate,” according to Food Safety News.

One of these requirements would have shifted liability from illnesses and deaths caused by raw milk away from the producer and State of Montana directly to the consumer.

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Image: German Skywalker