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Colorado’s raw milk law will be pushed to next year

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Colorado's raw milk law will be pushed to next year

Bird flu halted the legalization of raw milk in Colorado this year.

Or at least that’s why direct sales of unpasteurized milk are going nowhere with only a week left in the legislative session, while big issues like property taxes will likely take up the remaining time.

The bill officially died Thursday when it was postponed until the day after the current legislative session ended.

Bird flu spread from poultry to cattle earlier this year and made headlines in March. This is when USDA officials discovered the presence of highly pathogenic bird flu in raw milk.

This brought the commercial pasteurization process – which raw milk does not undergo – under scrutiny for killing harmful bacteria and viruses, including bird flu.

The Colorado bill, SB24-043, was heard only once in January and attracted scant testimony. There was no movement in the bill for the law that would allow the sale of raw milk directly to consumers from registered dairy farmers who follow certain new rules on labeling, storage and transportation.

Colorado, where the Legislature is in the hands of Democrats, is another test for raw milk advocates.

SB24-043 is sponsored by Democrat Senator Dylan Roberts, elected from the 8th District in 2022. Also on the bill are Democratic House Speaker Julie McCluskie and Republican Senator Byron Felton of the 1st District. The prospects for SB24-043 seemed good when the session started

And Colorado Governor Jared Polis was widely expected to enthusiastically sign SB24-043. Polis served for five terms in the Food Freedom caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But that all fell apart.

It leaves Colorado with some of the nation’s strictest rules against raw milk. If you want unpasteurized milk in Colorado, you have to buy cow or goat shares.

The sponsors wanted the public to believe that concerns about the spread of bird flu to raw milk were the reason their account was allowed to disappear.

However, SB24-043 was dead long before the latest round of concerns about the spread of bird flu.

It was dead on April 4 when SB24-026 was “deepened and redeepened” in a Water Resources and Agriculture Review. Measuring unit.

Senator Roberts plans a midterm study and brings back the raw milk bill next year.

The bill passed the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee 7-0, but that was in January. A raw milk inspection would have cost $125,000.

Raw milk would have to be kept at or below 40 degrees during transportation and violations would be $500 each. And labels would be needed to indicate the increased risks of foodborne illness.

Roberts says the timing for a “food freedom” bill this year just wasn’t right

The Colorado Legislature will adjourn on May 8.

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