News From Terre Haute, Indiana

State News

July 13, 2012

Debate churning over state's ban on raw milk sales

INDIANAPOLIS — A bottle of cold milk may not seem like a hot issue, but a push to legalize the sale and consumption of the raw version of the dairy product is stirring up a strong response.

This summer, the Indiana Board of Animal Health is holding a “virtual” public hearing — soliciting comments online — on an Indiana law that treats unprocessed, unpasteurized raw milk like contraband.

Hundreds of emails have flooded the agency’s inbox, and their contents reveal just how pitched the battle is: The most vehement of raw milk lovers are demanding government regulators get out of their refrigerators; raw milk foes predict a public health disaster if they do.

“It’s a hot-button issue,” said Denise Derrer, public information officer for BOAH, the state agency that regulates dairy farms.

Indiana is one of 20 states that ban the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk to consumers, citing concerns that it could harbor harmful pathogens — the reason why milk is pasteurized in the first place. But BOAH officials say they’ve given up trying to enforce the law, and acknowledge there’s a thriving black market fed by people who want to drink milk fresh from the cow.

At the the direction of the Indiana legislature, BOAH has formed an 18-member advisory panel, representing a spectrum of views, to weigh in on how raw milk sales could be regulated if legalized.

On that panel is Alan Yegerlehner, a sixth-generation dairy farmer who sells raw milk that comes from the grass-fed cows on his family farm in Clay City, Ind. He’s doing it legally: Indiana law bans the sale of raw milk for human consumption, but doesn’t prohibit selling it as pet food.

Yegerlehner’s milk is sold with a required label that reads: “Not for human consumption.” But he said his customers buy it with a wink and a nod.

“I don’t feel good about it but we think people should have a right to buy it,” Yegerlehner said. They’re willing to buy it at premium: A gallon of raw milk can run $6 to $8, twice or more what it costs for a gallon of the pasteurized version.

Yegerlehner said some people are turning to “herd shares” — paying a monthly fee to raw milk producers to “own” part of a cow. That lets them slip through a crack in the law that says it’s legal for people to drink raw milk if it comes from a cow they own.

Derrer said BOAH doesn’t recognize the validity of herd shares, but doesn’t have the resources to police raw milk sales. BOAH’s 12 inspectors already are responsible for regulatory oversight of the state’s 1,500 dairy farms.

Yegerlehner is convinced there’s got to be better way. While the Food and Drug Administration bans the interstate sale of raw milk — and has gone after an Amish farmer in northern Indiana for selling across state lines — there are states that have legalized it some form.

The state statutes that govern raw milk sales illustrate the deep divergence of opinion on its safety. It Kentucky, the only way to get raw milk legally is if it comes from a goat and obtained with a prescription from a doctor. California, a leader in raw milk sales, allows it to be sold both in stores and on the farm, but it has to meet stringent safety standards and carry a warning label.

Dave Forgey, who helped found the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers, milks about 300 pasture-fed cows on his Cass County farm. He’s a believer in store-bought pasteurized milk but thinks there’s room for the raw milk producers if the state is willing to impose stringent safety and testing standards.

“I like limited government too,” Forgey said. “But everybody consumes food and I see nothing wrong with the government testing it for safety. It gives us more credibility.”

The Indiana State Department of Health is on record opposing raw milk sales in Indiana. Officials there point to a February report by the Centers for Disease Control that found that 60 percent of the 121 dairy-related disease outbreaks in the last 13 years were caused by raw milk products. The CDC study found that 200 of the 239 people hospitalized due to dairy-related disease outbreaks were sickened by raw milk consumption. About 75 of those disease outbreaks occurred in the 21 states where it was legal to sell raw milk products at the time.

The FDA is investigating claims that raw milk from the Forest Grove Dairy in Middlebury, Ind., distributed through a Michigan food co-op, was the source of campylobacter, a bacteria that sickened at least 13 people who drank the milk. Dairy owner David Hochstetler told The Goshen News that he had an independent lab test of his milk for the bacteria and nothing was found.

“We oppose raw milk sales,” said Jennifer House, the veterinary epidemiologist at the Indiana State Department of Health. “There’s no research to say that’s good for human health and a lot of research that says that it isn’t.”

Raw milk advocates disagree. They’re convinced that pasteurizing milk — a process of heating and quickly cooling milk to kill pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria — also destroys beneficial bacteria, proteins and enzymes. Champions of raw milk argue its better for your immune and digestive systems and, because it’s typically produced on small local farms, it’s better for the earth.

In the deep stack of emails BOAH has received from hundreds of raw milk supporters are many that read like this: “I grew up drinking raw milk and I never got sick.”

Lindsay Klaunig, a cheesemaker who crafts artisan cheese from raw milk for Traders Point Creamery in Zionsville, also sits on the BOAH advisory panel. She’s an ardent advocate for raw milk, but would like to see the state adopt standards, based on best practices, for raw milk producers.

“Let’s put the politics of it aside,” Klaunig said. “This isn’t the first time government has had to regulate food. Let’s look at the risks and regulate accordingly.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Pence leading annual governor’s motorcycle ride

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence is leading the annual governor’s motorcycle ride from the Statehouse through southern Indiana.

    July 25, 2014

  • State asks judge to delay right-to-work ruling

    CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana attorney general’s office has asked a judge to put on hold his order striking down the state’s right-to-work law.

    July 25, 2014

  • Indiana chooses 5 counties for preschool program

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s three most populous counties are among five chosen for a pilot program that will allow low-income children in those areas to attend preschool as early as next year.

    July 22, 2014

  • More cases of chikungunya confirmed in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS — Six more Hoosiers have tested positive for the chikungunya virus, making a total of seven reported cases in the state. The majority of individuals have confirmed travel to the Caribbean, including four teens who were recently on mission trips to the area.

    July 17, 2014

  • Judge orders Indiana BMV to resume selling plates

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Marion County judge has ordered the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to resume issuing personalized license plates, but that doesn’t mean the agency will start doing so anytime soon.

    July 16, 2014

  • State reports budget surplus, $2 billion in reserves

    INDIANAPOLIS — As expected, the state closed its fiscal year with a budget surplus, due largely to spending cuts forced by Gov. Mike Pence.

    July 14, 2014

  • U.S. Attorney Hogsett announces resignation

    INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced in a news release today his resignation from office, effective July 31, 2014.

    July 14, 2014

  • State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes

    INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Pence orders memorials for officers who died

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has declared this week an official period of mourning after the loss of three law enforcement officers in the line of duty over eight days.

    July 8, 2014

  • 051713 BAYH SMILE.jpg Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
    Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

    July 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Deal set in ex-schools chief Bennett’s ethics case

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s State Ethics Commission is considering a settlement in the ethics case against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.

    July 7, 2014

  • Lawmakers returning for ’corrections’ day

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State lawmakers are returning to Indianapolis for a day to fix critical mistakes left in the criminal sentencing overhaul legislation approved earlier this year.

    June 16, 2014

  • Constitutional convention backers meet in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — About 100 lawmakers from 33 states are expected to gather at the Indiana Statehouse for discussions about how to call the first constitutional convention since the nation’s founding.

    June 12, 2014

  • Dickson stepping down as Indiana’s chief justice

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson is stepping down from that role but will remain as an associate justice.

    June 11, 2014

  • 10-digit dialing in 812 area code soon mandatory

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana utility officials say 10-digit dialing in southern Indiana’s 812 area code will become mandatory in September.

    June 11, 2014

  • Audit: Nearly 275 in Indiana await 1st VA visit

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An audit of VA hospitals and clinics nationwide has found that nearly 275 Indiana patients are still waiting for initial appointments at facilities in Indianapolis and northern Indiana 90 days or more after requesting them.

    June 9, 2014

  • Jackpot growth slowing down for Hoosier Lotto

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State lottery officials are blaming a big drop in ticket sales for a decision to slash the rate at which Hoosier Lotto jackpots grow.

    June 6, 2014

  • Our view: Throw open the doors

    As allegations and scandals continue to explode about hidden wait lists and cooked books at VA medical care facilities across the country, with hints of even more heinous findings to come, we have to wonder why it's business as usual in our nation's

    May 29, 2014

  • Indiana’s 4 largest cities see population surges

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A new report by an Indiana University research group says Indiana’s four largest cities are in the midst of some big population increases.

    May 22, 2014

  • Appeals court: Students can sue over school attack

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Court of Appeals says two students hurt in a school shooting can sue the school district over their injuries.

    May 20, 2014

  • State health commissioner urges hepatitis testing

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s health commissioner is urging Hoosiers to educate themselves about the dangers of viral hepatitis and to get tested for the disease.

    May 19, 2014

  • Zoeller: Robocall complaints are down in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says his office is receiving almost half as many complaints a month about robocalls as it did two years ago, but says there’s more work to be done.

    May 19, 2014

  • High court to hear appeal of right-to-work law

    MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in September on Indiana’s appeal of a judge’s ruling declaring the state’s right-to-work law unconstitutional.

    May 9, 2014

  • Judge: Indiana must still recognize 1 gay marriage

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The state of Indiana must recognize a lesbian couple’s out-of-state marriage throughout their legal fight to have one of the women named as a spouse on her terminally ill partner’s death certificate, a judge ruled today. The Indiana attorney general’s office said it would appeal.

    May 8, 2014

  • Judge says Indiana BMV wrongly pulled ‘0INK’ plate

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A police officer has the right to buy a vanity license plate reading “0INK,” an Indiana judge has said in a ruling that extends far beyond one plate.

    May 8, 2014

  • Zoeller: Let legislatures choose Senate candidates

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Senate candidates in Indiana would be nominated by the General Assembly instead of selected by voters in a primary if the state’s top legal officer has his way.

    May 5, 2014

  • Indiana, CDC push for more infant vaccinations

    AVON, Ind. (AP) — State and national health officials are pushing for parents to vaccinate their infants on time in the face of measles outbreaks.

    April 30, 2014

  • Painted bison to celebrate Indiana bicentennial

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Painted bison sculptures and quilted gardens are set to pop up in honor of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration.

    April 30, 2014

  • Indiana court upholds dismissal of ethics charges

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a judge’s decision to dismiss misconduct charges against the state’s former top utility regulator.

    April 29, 2014

  • Board approves Indiana’s Common Core replacement

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The State Board of Education has approved new math and English standards to replace the Common Core benchmarks in Indiana’s classrooms this fall.

    April 28, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Today in History for July 29th Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010