§19-1-7. Shared animal ownership agreement to consume raw milk.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary, a responsible party may enter into a written shared animal ownership agreement to consume raw milk in which he or she:
(1) Acquires a percentage ownership interest in a milk-producing animal;
(2) Agrees to pay another for the percentage ownership interest for the care and boarding of the milk-producing animal at the dairy farm;
(3) Is entitled to receive a fair share of the animal’s raw milk production as a condition of the contractual agreement;
(4) Agrees to sign a written document acknowledging the inherent dangers of consuming raw milk that may contain bacteria, such as Brucella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella and E. Coli, that has not been pasteurized to remove bacteria and that is particularly dangerous to children, pregnant women and those with compromised immunity. The responsible party then agrees to release the herd seller of liability for the inherent dangers of consuming raw milk but not for those dangers that are caused by negligent acts or omissions of the herd seller; and
(5) Agrees not to distribute raw milk. The sale or resale of raw milk obtained from a herd share is strictly prohibited.
(b) The signed and executed shared animal ownership agreement shall be filed by the herd seller with the Commissioner of Agriculture and shall contain the names, addresses and phone numbers of the herd seller and the responsible party so that either party may be contacted in the event of an illness.
(c) The herd seller shall meet the animal health requirements for milk-producing animals established by the state veterinarian in accordance with state and national standards including the following:
(1) Raw milk from milk-producing animals intended for consumption shall be from a herd that tested negative within the previous twelve months for brucellosis, tuberculosis and other diseases as required by the state veterinarian. Additions to the herd shall test negative for the diseases within the previous thirty days before introduction into the herd; and
(2) Milk-producing animals producing bloody, stringy or abnormal milk, but with only slight inflammation of the udder, shall be excluded from the milking herd until reexamination shows that the milk has become normal. Milk-producing animals showing chronic mastitis, whether producing abnormal milk or not, shall be permanently excluded from the milking herd.
(d) Parties to a shared animal ownership agreement and physicians who become aware of an illness directly related to consuming raw milk shall report the illness to the local health department and the Commissioner of Agriculture. Upon receipt of such a report, the Commissioner of Agriculture or his or her designee shall contact and warn other parties consuming raw milk from the same herd seller.
(e) The Commissioner of Agriculture may impose an administrative penalty not to exceed $100 for a person who violates the provisions of this section. Any penalty imposed under this subsection may be contested by the person against whom it is imposed pursuant to article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(f) The Commissioner of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Resources, may propose rules for promulgation in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code in compliance with raw milk dairy industry standards.Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session