Rules have been approved for overseeing the production, testing, and labeling of raw milk sold in South Dakota. Members of the legislative committee which approved them suggested the state hold off enforcement until the legislature meets in January.  Some members are expecting proposals from both sides of this issue to be introduced.

In an interview on Viewpoint University Wednesday, Nov. 13, Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch, indicated he will move forward now with implementation unless a formal appeal is brought forth either administratively or thru the courts.

There are not many farms registered to produce raw milk. According to Lentsch,  there are five. With all of the dairy herds and farms producing milk in our state, five farms producing and selling raw milk is a niche of a niche.

However, some consumers who believe in raw milk and some of the producers seem to come from the "libertarian" side of the political spectrum. They don't want the new rules and apparently whatever old rules in effect aren't good either.

For state officials, it is a conundrum. Raw milk is a legal product and it can be sold. The question of where does the state's responsibility to ensure a safe product begin and end.

The proposal for raw milk which seems to raising so much ire has to do with labeling.The state wants a clear, easy to read label stating the product is "Raw Milk." The rules state the words can't be covered by a price tag, or other label. Also, the state wants the labels to contain information about possible bacteria and fecal chloroform present in the product.

A copy of the rules can be found on the State's new website.

Rules to convince me, as a consumer, that the product I am going to eat or drink, is safe, makes sense. There are no guarantees, but labeling with pertinent information, will help me decide whether to buy the raw milk or to move down the cooler section to purchase the pasteurized, homogenized, and dated product.