A proposed change to the Wyoming Food Safety Rules may loosen the state’s grip on raw milk consumption limitations in the Cowboy state, but the changes fall short of allowing commercial sales of the product, disappointing raw milk supporters according to Food Safety News.
Wyoming is one of 20 states banning the retail sales of unpasteurized milk. The proposed rule wouldn’t change the state’s position on commercial raw milk sales, but it would clarify current laws prohibiting farm families from drinking raw milk from their own cows. Under the new rule, producers who are the sole owners of livestock would be allowed to serve raw milk in their home to family members, non-paying guests and farm employees.
The clarification was included in revisions to the Wyoming Food Safety Rules proposed by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) in May, which is now subject to a public comment period and hearing. A forum was held in Casper, Wyo., last week to discuss the proposed change.
Raw milk supporters advocating for retail sales of raw milk were in attendance at the forum, including state Representative Sue Wallis, (R-Recluse). Wallis is currently seeking election to her fourth term in the Wyoming House and is staunch advocate for raw milk sales and consumption.
Under the current proposed rule change, Wallis suggests simplifying the language used. In particular, Wallis has suggested that officials remove the term “sole” as an ownership requirement.
"Because people want fresh milk today, the only way they can get it is to make a deal with somebody who has the capacity to keep a cow,” Wallis told the Casper Star Tribune.
WDA officials have promised to forward her suggestions to the state attorney general for review.
Wallis has also collected more than 1,200 signatures on a petition objecting to the proposed rule on grounds that it would take away the right to own a share of livestock in Wyoming. Wallis and her family participate in a cow share agreement with a nearby farmer who delivers milk to her family ranch in northern Wyoming.
"If adopted, this rule would be a wholesale taking of private property and would eliminate the right of a Wyoming citizen who does not live where cows or goats can be kept to choose the fresh food that they seek for themselves and their family," she says in the petition.
Despite Wallis’ support of cow shares, the Wyoming House Agriculture Committee voted it down last January as a legal method of obtaining raw milk.