Two raw milk bills are progressing through the West Virginia Legislature.
Currently, raw milk is only accessible through herdshares in West Virginia.
House Bill 4911
Relating to the sale of raw milk
This bill explicitly strikes out laws that forced licensed dairy farmers to agree not to sell raw milk through retail or herdshare agreements.
(5) Agrees not to distribute raw milk. The sale or resale of raw milk obtained from a herd share is strictly prohibited.
The entire existing law prohibiting raw milk sales are struck out and replaced with raw milk being legal to sell so long as it’s properly labeled to inform consumers.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary, sales of raw milk are permitted in West Virginia as long as the containers are clearly labeled as ungraded raw milk.
(b) A person who sells raw milk shall be immune from suit and liability, for a claim for personal injury or other civil liability caused or arising out of, or relating to, an actual or alleged act, error, or omission that occurred: Provided, That a person is not protected from suit or liability for damage, loss, injury, or liability caused by the intentional or willful and wanton misconduct.
Follow this bill and read the full bill text on the WV Leg website: WV HB 4911 – Bill Status – wvlegislature.gov
House Bill 4736
Creating the West Virginia Farm Fresh Dairy Act
(a) The purpose of the West Virginia Farm Fresh Dairy Act is to allow for the sale and consumption of homemade and farm fresh raw milk and raw milk products and to encourage the expansion of raw milk dairy sales by small farm producers and accessibility of their products to informed end consumers by:
(1) Permitting the limited purchase and consumption of farm fresh raw milk and dairy products made from raw milk;
(2) Expanding the agricultural economy and opening competitive markets for small dairy farms;
(3) Providing informed West Virginia consumers with unimpeded and convenient access to farm fresh raw milk and raw milk products from known sources; and
(4) Empowering the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to administer the West Virginia Farm Fresh Dairy Act and to register and inspect participating small dairy farms for compliance with this article.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law or specific requirements of the West Virginia Farm Fresh Dairy Act, there shall be no licensure, permitting, or certification required by any agency of any political subdivision of the state which pertains to the preparation, serving, use, consumption or storage of raw milk or raw milk products under the West Virginia Farm Fresh Dairy Act. Nothing in this article shall preclude an agency from providing assistance, consultation, or inspection, with the consent of the producer.
(c) Transactions under this section shall:
(1) Be directly and exclusively between the producer and the informed end consumer. No consumer resale of farm fresh raw milk or raw milk products purchased under this article shall be permitted;
(2) Only be for home consumption by the informed end consumer;
(3) Occur only in West Virginia;
(4) Not involve interstate commerce.
(d) Nothing in this article shall be construed to impede the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and/or Department of Health and Human Resources in any investigation and/or prosecution of a food borne illness that has been determined by a qualified physician to have been caused by a food-borne pathogen ingested from a food product sold under this article.
(e) Nothing in this article shall be construed to change the requirements for animal health inspections and/or any applicable vaccination requirements.
(f) Producers selling farm fresh foods in full compliance with the West Virginia Farm Fresh Dairy Act shall not be held liable for any consumer illness that may result from improper handling, storage, contamination, or use of the food product by the customer that occurs after the sale.
Follow this bill and read the full bill text on the WV Leg website: WV HB 4736 – Bill Status – wvlegislature.gov