Raw Milk Regulations in New York

Rincker Law Food & Ag Law 2 Comments

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With the popularity of farmers markets rising, some consumers are more and more interested in getting food products straight from the farm. One of the products that is becoming more popular with the public is raw milk. Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. Consumers of raw milk are fans of the creamy taste and thicker texture as compared to pasteurized milk. A small group of raw milk advocates allege that raw milk is successful in treating a series of health problems from eczema and asthma to digestion problems.

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) have warned of the risks associated with drinking unpasteurized milk, such as a greater chance of the milk containing disease causing bacteria. They have also stated that there are no major benefits to drinking raw milk that pasteurized milk cannot provide.

Additionally the FDA bans the transportation of raw milk across state lines in a final packaging that is meant to be sold directly to consumers. However, the FDA has publicly stated that it has no intention of sanctioning consumers who transport raw milk across state lines for their own consumption. Other than that specific regulation, the federal government has left it up to states to individually make laws concerning the legality of selling raw milk.

In New York, raw milk can only be sold on the farm where it is produced. In order to do that, the farm must obtain a Raw Milk Sales Part 2 permit. To receive a permit a farm must have:

  • A Brucellosis ring test on file with the Department’s Division of Animal Industry.
  • A Tuberculosis test performed on each animal.
  • The farm operation must be enrolled in the Quality Milk Production Services (QMPS) program and must have a report showing that each animal was tested for pathogens, including but not limited to Staph. Aureus and E. Coli.
  • The farm operation must have a milk sample tested for the following pathogens: Salmonella, Listeria, Escherchia coliform, E. Coli 0157:H7, Campylobacter, and Staphylocci. These tests are required initially and monthly.
  • Satisfactory farm water test must be on file.

Only after a permit is obtained may a farm sell raw milk to consumers. The milk may only be sold to consumers and not retailers. Additionally, New York State requires that a sign be posted where the milk is sold stating: “NOTICE: Raw milk sold here. Raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization.

New York legislature has proposed changing this law to allow raw milk to be produced for retail sale and also to allow retail sale of raw milk. These pieces of legislation have yet to be passed.

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