April 12, 2016

Raw Milk Sales

A recent article from the National Conference of State Legislatures explains laws regarding the sale of raw milk.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "raw milk" is milk from cows, goats, sheep, or other animals that has not been pasteurized.  The CDC estimates that less than 1% of milk sold to consumers in the United States is raw milk and warns that consuming it can be dangerous, even resulting in death.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s  (FDA) Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) provides standards for states to use as guidance regarding the production, processing, packaging, and sale of Grade A milk and milk products and does not permit the sale of raw milk or products made from raw milk (e.g., yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream). 

Thirty-one states, including Connecticut, allow consumers to purchase raw milk directly.  Some states allow it to be sold in retail stores while others only allow it to be sold at farmers' markets or on the farm.  Because the FDA does not regulate raw milk, it cannot be sold across state lines or internationally. 

In Connecticut, raw milk sales are legal on the farm and in retail stores.  The state requires that farmers obtain producer permits and raw milk retailer permits from the State Agriculture Commissioner and a milk dealer license from the public health board of the town or city where the farm is located.