Unpasteurized milk sales now legal in Arkansas

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - The sale of unpasteurized milk is now legal in Arkansas.

Pocahontas farmer Freddy Watts says he plans to sell some of the eight to nine gallons he gets from his two cows, although the 71-year-old retiree does not expect a huge profit. "I can't make enough with just two cows to pay for all my grain, my hay, and everything, but it's still my hobby."

The new law that took effect Friday, August 17, allows Arkansas farmers to sell a monthly average of up to 500 gallons of unpasteurized milk from cows and goats.

Watts says he is glad to be able to sell what he believes is better quality milk, but agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration warn against consuming unpasteurized milk. According to information posted on the FDA web site, unpasteurized milk is "150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness" from dangerous bacteria such as "Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria."

"It's thicker. You can tell the difference in the taste of Walmart milk or any other milk. To me that almost tastes like water with a little milk in it," Watts said.

Under the new law sellers are required to post signs and use package labels releasing themselves from any liability for health issues that may come from consumers drinking the milk.

Watts does not believe people have much reason to worry.

"Forty years ago, everybody drank raw milk because I remember when I was first married they would deliver milk to the house," he said. "All of a sudden it's not good for you, but there's still a lot of people that drink it."

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