Bill to allow raw milk sales passes Louisiana House

Advocate photo by MICHELLE MILLHOLLON -- State Rep. Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro, co-sponsored legislation that would allow the sale of raw milk in Louisiana under certain conditions. Ortego pinned an
Advocate photo by MICHELLE MILLHOLLON -- State Rep. Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro, co-sponsored legislation that would allow the sale of raw milk in Louisiana under certain conditions. Ortego pinned an "I love raw milk" pin to his jacket for floor debate.

The Louisiana House voted 77-19 Wednesday in favor of lifting a ban on the sale of unpasteurized milk.

House Bill 1279 narrowly emerged from a House committee. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Stephen Ortego, agreed to changes before asking for a vote on the House floor.

Critics of raw milk sales contend the product could expose consumers to harmful bacteria. Proponents argue raw milk helps people with asthma and lactose intolerance.

Ortego, D-Carencro, said many of the health risks have been addressed over the years.

Still, Ortego offered some tweaks to HB1279, including adding stronger wording to raw milk labels about the health risks of skipping pasteurization. The state also would be able to inspect a raw milk farm’s cows or goats.

HB1279 now moves to the Senate for debate.