Raw Milk Ordinance Goes to City Council Next Month for Action; To Placard or Not To Placard is The Question!

Doug Donahue, Balfour Farm, Pittsfield, at H&R Committee Meeting

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,020)

Portland’s Farmers Market is the only one in Maine that does not permit the sale of raw (unpasteurized) milk by its vendors. But that could change next month. Tuesday afternoon the city’s Health & Recreaction Committee voted unanimously to forward the proposed ordinance to the city council for its consideration on December 7th.

The City’s Health & Human Services Department prepared a one page placard, “The Risks of Drinking Raw (Unpasteurized) Milk”, which it recommends be “displayed on a lamminated placard directly adjacent to the unpasteurized products and a handout with the same information be available to the consumer at the point of sale.” The placard bullets a number of scientific concerns about raw milk about which the unfamiliar should be educated.

Because retailers such as Rosemont Market & Bakery sell raw milk, but as a retailer would not be required to post the same information, councilor John Anton did not support the placard for Farmers’ Market vendors. Councilor Cheryl Leeman suppoted a downsized placard for vendors’ use. “There are warning labels on everything these days. The public needs to be informed,” Leeman said. “We are bringing in more and more untraditional shoppers to the market.”

The subject came up because Heather and Doug Donahue who were selling raw milk this summer at the Farmers’ Market were told this summer it was not legal in Portland to do so. The couple moved to Pittsfield from upstate New York with the intention of selling their raw milk at Farmers’ Markets. They were surprised to learn that Portland does not allow it. Please visit www.balfourfarmdairy.com for more information.