There are now 16 states (soon to be 17) where licensed raw milk dairies can sell their milk at farmer’s markets and through CSA’s (as well as at their own farms). The Massachusetts senate recently passed Bill S.2258* by a vote of 36-1 (and the only one who opposed it based his vote on the part of the bill which bans the use of plastic bags at farmer’s markets).
If the house passes this bill, licensed raw milk dairies will be able to deliver their milk through CSAs or through a third party. They will also be allowed to sell their milk at farm stands that are not attached to the dairy (such as at farmer’s markets).
This is a big gain for home cheese makers who use raw milk to make cheese, especially if you live a great distance from the nearest raw milk farm. Licensed raw milk dairies will now be able to set up a pick-up location where you can go at a designated time to collect your milk.
As mentioned, there are already 16 other states which allow for raw milk delivery. They have allowed this in direct opposition to the FDA’s apparent strategy to ban raw milk sales. The FDA currently enforces a law which prevents the transportation of raw milk across state lines. They have also asserted in court that they have the right to enforce a ban on intrastate transportation.
This has created essentially the same situation with raw milk as we have with marijuana. When the state allows it, the Federal government cannot enforce a ban. And, if all the states allow the transportation of raw milk within their borders, the government will not be able to enforce intrastate or interstate transportation.
We’re excited about the effort to make raw milk more accessible in Massachusetts. How is your state doing?
*SECTION 17. Chapter 94 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 13E the following section:-
Section 13F. (a) A dairy farmer manufacturing raw milk for human consumption shall be licensed under section 16A of chapter 94 and section 5 of chapter 94A. A licensed raw milk farmer may deliver raw milk directly to a consumer, off-site from the farm, if the raw milk farmer has a direct, contractual relationship with the consumer. The raw milk farmer may contract with a third party for such delivery; provided, however, that the raw milk farmer shall maintain the contractual relationship with the consumer. The raw milk farmer may deliver raw milk through a community supported agriculture, or CSA, delivery system; provided, however, that the raw milk farmer shall maintain a contractual relationship with the consumer. Delivery may be made directly to the consumer’s residence or to a preestablished receiving site. A receiving site shall not be in a retail setting with the exception of a CSA delivery. In such instances, raw milk shall be kept separate from retail items for sale and shall not be accessible to the general public.
(b) A raw milk farmer may sell raw milk from the farmer’s farm stands even if not contiguous to the farmer’s raw milk dairy; provided however, the farmer shall comply with section 3 of chapter 40A .
(c) The department of agricultural resources and the department of public health, acting jointly, shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations governing the handling, packaging, storage, testing and transportation of raw milk; provided, however, that any delivery vehicle transporting raw milk shall comply with the inspection requirements set forth in sections 33, 35 and 40.
(d) The label on any raw milk sold pursuant to this section shall contain: (i) the identity of the farm where the raw milk was packaged, including the licensee’s name, address and license number; and (ii) the following warning: “Raw milk is not pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys organisms that may be harmful to health.”