Raw milk rules will remain untouched in South Dakota for the time being after a legislative panel rebuffed the state’s Agriculture Department’s proposal to broaden the state’s raw milk regulations.

Citing inadequate data on the costs to raw milk producers, the committee voted 3 to 2 to send the proposed rules back to the Agriculture Department, according to the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal.

In April, the agency proposed raw milk sales within the state, but after two public hearings and significant rewriting, the updated proposed rules would have considered raw milk “similar to produce from a home garden.” Instead, only raw milk sold commercially would have required a permit and safety testing.

The proposed rules were the center of heated debate between producers, consumers and politicians.

“It’s inexpensive and it’s necessary for South Dakota citizens to maintain good health,” Democratic state Rep. Peggy Gibson said in support of the rule changes. “It is my right to be able to know what I’m consuming as well.”

“I believe it is our responsibility to put these in place,” Republican state Rep. Ann Hajek added.

With the rules back in the hands of the Agriculture Department, the next step of whether to research the small-business impact of the regulations and make another attempt to get the rules passed by the panel is up the agency.

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