Raw Milk Regulations Protect Commercial Milk Producers’ Business
Regarding raw milk regulations, the Springfield News-Leader reports:
Most commercial dairy producers are against the unregulated sale of raw milk because they fear if anyone got sick from it, the pasteurized milk industry would suffer from the bad publicity and confusion.
Fear of bad publicity can’t fully explain why Missouri law allows farmers to sell raw milk from their farms but not from makeshift stands in parking lots. Nor does it justify other states’ stricter controls, such as Oregon’s ban on advertising raw milk. If avoiding negative publicity were the only object, it would be sufficient to keep raw milk out of grocery store aisles. There would be no need for fine distinctions between customers ordering milk ahead of time or paying for it on the spot.
In fact, commercial producers who truly hoped to prevent a public relations disaster would want raw milk to be more visible, not less. Confusion might arise if people heard that someone got sick from raw milk, but they didn’t know what raw milk was or where people got it. They might erroneously assume they were buying raw milk themselves. If raw milk were widely advertised and many people saw it available at independent stands and distribution centers, they’d understand that raw milk is not the same product as the milk they find at the store.
The plethora of raw milk regulations are more effective from the point of view of avoiding competition. When consumers can’t hear about raw milk sales because advertising is forbidden, or when there’s no convenient way to pick up raw milk because it’s sold on a distant farm, most will buy pasteurized milk at the store. Producers stand to lose from easy access to raw milk.