Raw milk has become a hot topic nationwide, generating much discussion on issues ranging from how it should be labeled to food safety.

During the 2012 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly tasked the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) with conducting a summer study on the sale of raw milk. BOAH will report the findings of the study in a report by Dec. 1. The report will serve as a reference document for members of the 2013 legislature.

According to BOAH Dairy Division Director Terry Philibeck, completing this study is going to be a big job — one with an opportunity for the public to contribute.

“As we began planning our strategy for writing this report, we wanted to find a way for every Hoosier to participate,” he said. “Because attending public hearings can be a challenge to busy schedules and people geographically scattered across the state, we decided to host a ‘virtual’ public hearing to gather input.”

The “Virtual Public Hearing” will go live on the BOAH website on June 1, and stay open until Sept. 1. Comments for and against the sales of raw milk are welcomed, as well as suggestions for any potential change to Indiana law. Those who submit comments must provide a name and contact information, in case follow up is needed.

“We encourage any Hoosier with an opinion on the subject to visit the BOAH website to share a comment,” Philibeck said. “We’ll take that feedback into consideration as we compile the report, which will be posted online in December.”

Ultimately, the final report will provide guidance to lawmakers, should they decide to legalize the sale of raw milk in the state of Indiana — a practice that is currently prohibited by law.

A virtual public hearing webpage will be available on the BOAH website at www.boah.in.gov by clicking on the “What’s New” link or the main banner.  Those without internet capabilities are welcome to submit comments by U.S. Mail to BOAH at Discovery Hall, Suite 100; 1202 E. 38th Street; Indianapolis, IN 46205-2898; Attn: Raw Milk Comments.