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LETTER: Raw milk rules look to be overly stringent

To the Editor:

Despite more than 650 letters from the public opposing the proposed rules for raw milk sales, the S.D. Department of Agriculture passed them on to the Legislative Rules Review Committee. The SDDA has a strong agenda, and after its convincing arguments, several of the LRCC members felt the rules were necessary to ensure public safety. However, the LRRC reverted the rules back to the SDDA for more clarity on the financial impact of adding a warning label to jars (containing 36 words).

With the determination of the SDDA, it's likely another hearing will follow and that new rule implications, including overly stringent testing levels, are still inevitable in the future.

From my research, besides raw milk being incredibly nutritious, it is uniquely designed to be inherently safe (including lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin and at least 18 other anti-bacterial, pathogen-fighting elements).

However, if "raw milk sold directly to consumers" is to be regulated, then it requires specific consideration -- understanding that it's already handled in a specifically safe manner by producers knowing it won't be pasteurized. For safety assurances, there is a one-on-one dialogue between consumer and producer and the ability to visit the farm where the milk was produced -- unlike commercial milk, which comes from unknown sources of co-mingled dairies. Hopefully the LRRC will consider this the next time around.

We are grateful to everyone who sent in letters opposing the SDDA proposed rules.