North Dakota Bill May Ban Raw Milk


There have been a lot of stories recently about American citizens being fined and even arrested for selling raw milk. The argument is that raw milk can make people sick because it isn’t pasteurized, but anybody who grew up on a farm (I’m told, since I was never a farm kid) grew up drinking milk straight out of the cow.

But there are risks, and the government thinks that’s justification for shutting down raw milk operations altogether even when they consist of transactions from people who are transparent about the fact that they’re selling raw milk to people who know they’re buying raw milk. In fact, at one point the Obama administration argued in federal court that Americans “do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”

Because it’s not like this is a free country or anything.

Here in North Dakota purchasing raw milk is only legal through so-called “cow shares” (where people collective purchase a cow and share it’s milk), but an amendment to SB2072 would ban that practice.

As you can see on the state bill tracking website, SB2072 started off as a simple updating of state law to reflect changes in federal milk guidelines, but a reader was kind enough to email an image of the proposed language:


I’m not a fan of raw milk personally, but that’s a choice I make for myself. Why shouldn’t others, informed of what risks to drinking raw milk there may be, be denied their own choice?

The government has no business getting between willing sellers and willing buyers.

Rob Port is the editor of, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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