In 1996, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 12553, which established Section 16-124, Miscellaneous Food Protection Requirements, of the City Code, prohibiting the sale at retail of unpasteurized (raw) milk and unpasteurized milk products, as well as Section 16-151, Nuisance, declaring the sale of unpasteurized milk or milk products at retail a public health nuisance.
In recent months, after investigating citizen initiated complaints regarding the distribution of raw milk, it was discovered that these provisions of the City Code could be circumvented by distributing raw milk through non-retail channels which could plausibly claim not to be engaging in retail sales.
This ordinance is intended to clarify that it is the distribution of raw milk and raw milk products which is prohibited, regardless of retail status. The distribution of raw milk carries the same, if not greater risks, when done through non-retail channels or establishments.
Raw milk may still be distributed directly to consumers at dairies which are licensed by the State of Texas with a Grade A Raw for Retail Milk permit. These dairies are subject to licensing and inspection requirements intended to reduce the health risk of raw milk sold at the dairy. The state does not have any provision for licensing the sales of raw milk through any outlets other than at these dairies.
Cheeses produced in compliance with state and federal law are fully exempt from this ordinance.
Other than closing the loophole allowing distribution by non-retail establishments, this ordinance does not substantively change the right of citizens to obtain and consume raw milk. The raw milk must simply be obtained by the consumer at a state licensed dairy, which has been the City's standard since 1996.