Based on the growing popularity of raw milk, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has been keeping track of the regulation and sale of raw milk in the United States.
According to the association’s most recent updated survey released in April 2008, 29 states allowed the legal sale of raw milk, in some specified manner, for direct human consumption. The remaining 21 states prohibited the sale of raw milk to consumers.
Of the 29 states where raw milk sales were allowed in some form, 17 states allowed raw milk to be sold only on the farm where the milk is produced. Thirteen states allowed the sale of raw milk at retail stores separate from the farm.
Here is some information about the data collected from a short questionnaire that the national association sent to state regulatory milk-program directors and/or managers in all 50 states.
According to the survey, which was conducted Jan. 9-16, 2008:
Seventeen states allow raw milk to be sold only on the farm where the milk is produced. Two of these states, Minnesota and Wisconsin further restrict sales to only “incidental occurrences” — that is, “occasional, not in the regular course of business.” No advertising is allowed.
Four states, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Kentucky, restrict sales to goat milk only. Kentucky and Rhode Island also require a prescription from a physician.
South Dakota allows farmers to deliver direct to consumers, but not to stores.
Oregon allows on-farm sales of raw cow’s milk only from farms with 3 or fewer cows –no more than two of them milking. Only goat milk is allowed at retail off the farm.
Three states have a coliform standard for milk sold only on-farm: Massachusetts and Texas, 10/mL or fewer; South Carolina, 30/mL or fewer.
Thirteen states allow the sale of raw milk at retail stores separate from the farm. These states are California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Missouri*, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Utah.
Utah requires the store to be owned by the producer, even though it can be located off the farm.
Oregon allows retail store sales of goat milk only.
Of these 13 states, 11 have a total coliform standard.
California’s and Washington’s is 10/mL or fewer.
Idaho has a coliform standard of 50/mL or fewer.
Two states, Oregon and New Hampshire, have no coliform standard. But Oregon restricts retail store sales to goat milk only..
The association is planning to update this information in the next year or two.
*Correction: Missouri does have inspected retail raw milk code of state regulations (2 CSR 80-3). However retail simply means it can be sold to the public (Attorney General Opinion 114-74). Missouri food inspection recognizes the food code of 1999 which prohibits milk to be sold in retail stores unless pasteurized.