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  /  World News   /  Selling raw milk legal in West Virginia starting Friday

Selling raw milk legal in West Virginia starting Friday

(NewsNation) — Starting Friday, selling raw milk will be legal in West Virginia.

House Bill 4911, which legalizes the practice, became law in March and goes into effect June 7, though without Republican Gov. Jim Justice’s signature. While it had already been legal to drink raw or unpastuerized milk in the state since 2016, this legislation allows for the sale of it, as long as it is clearly labeled as such, with the seller’s name and date of production. Also required is a warning that consuming raw milk can increase the risk of foodborne illness, especially in vulnerable populations such as little children, the elderly, or immunocompromised individuals.

Del. Mike Hornby, a Republican who sponsored HB4911, had called it a “freedom bill,” according to West Virginia Watch.

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“If I want to purchase raw milk from my neighbor, I should be able to purchase and consume that milk,” Hornby told the House Health Committee, per the news outlet. “Everybody who drinks raw milk knows it’s raw milk, and they choose to drink raw milk.”

While West Virginia Watch reports that the bill had wide support from Republicans in the state House and Senate, Marie Krause, a dairy scientist and an associate professor in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design at West Virginia University, told them people should avoid raw milk amid a bird flu outbreak in cattle.

“I love dairy products, I really do, I just don’t think (drinking raw milk) is worth the risk,” Krause said. 

Currently, 9 states and 83 herds in the United States are seeing bird flu outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. West Virginia is not among them.