North Dakota loosening reins on sale of raw milk

August 14, 2023

BISMARCK – North Dakota has joined the raw milk movement. The state now allows limited sales of the product, and officials are urging caution for consumers who plan on drinking it. In recent years, dozens of states have loosened restrictions regarding the sale of unpasteurized milk amid vocal demand. Those wanting broader access say it tastes better and comes with extra health benefits. But the F-D-A says those claims don’t outweigh the risks, including disease-causing pathogens.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring echoes those concerns. He says, “Nothing’s changed in 200 years: TB, brucellosis, all those things are still present and they could be transmitted through the milk.” He says the biggest concern is for vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.

This year, the state Legislature passed a law that allows producers to sell raw milk directly to consumers, but retailers and wholesalers are still banned from any involvement. And the legal sales only relate to the liquid form of raw milk, and not products such as cheese and yogurt.