As Montanans are turning to locally sourced food in the face of possible disruptions caused by the COVID-19 virus, the Montana Department of Livestock cautions the public against consumption of raw, or unpasteurized, milk and raw milk products.

“While milk is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and calcium essential for healthy bone growth, unpasteurized milk has been linked to numerous food borne disease outbreaks,” says Rosemary Hickey, Milk and Egg Bureau registered sanitarian. “Because of health concerns, raw milk and raw milk products produced on your farm should only be offered for consumption to your immediate family.”

Despite previous disruptions to the supply chain, Montana pasteurized milk and dairy products remain plentiful in our grocery stores and many convenience stores.

“We’re lucky in Montana, in that we have producers of all sizes not only supplying milk, but making cow, goat, and sheep cheeses and other dairy products,” says Mike Honeycutt, executive officer of the Montana Department of Livestock.

The Administrative Rules of Montana prohibit the sale of raw milk to consumers for any purpose. In order to sell or give away product, one needs to be licensed by the Department of Livestock’s Milk & Egg Bureau (ARM 32.8.103 & Title 81-21-101).

The Centers for Disease Control advises against consumption of raw or unpasteurized milk because of severe health risks. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html.

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