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Maine Agriculture Officials Back Easing Raw Milk Restriction

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine agricultural officials say they support easing license requirements for some dairy farmers who sell raw milk directly to consumers.

The state Legislature is considering two bills that would loosen regulatory requirements on raw milk.  In legislative testimony Thursday, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry quality assurance and regulations director Ronald Dyer said he supports the narrower of the two bills, the Portland Press Herald reports. That bill promises to exempt dairy farms only if raw milk is sold directly to consumers at the farm.

Maine is one of more than two dozen states that allow sales of raw milk.  But the state requires farmers to be licensed to do so.

Health officials warn that raw milk can cause illnesses because pasteurization kills harmful bacteria.