States may adopt their own laws on raw milk sales. However, at the federal level, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans the interstate sale or distribution of raw milk. All milk sold across state lines must be pasteurized and meet the standards of the US Pasteurized Milk Ordinance.
According to US Federal Regulation (21 CFR § 1240.61), "No person shall cause to be delivered into interstate commerce or shall sell, otherwise distribute, or hold for sale or other distribution after shipment in interstate commerce any milk or milk product in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized."
As of Jan. 2013, the sale of raw milk in stores is legal in 12 states. 17 states only permit raw milk sales on farms; 4 states only allow raw milk acquisition through "cow-share" agreements; and in 17 other states all sales of raw milk are prohibited.
Drinking or otherwise consuming raw milk is legal in all 50 states. With the exception of Michigan, no state expressly prohibits the sale of raw milk as animal feed.
II. State Law Summary
The categories in this summary are listed from least restrictive to most restrictive. Some states that allow the retail sale of raw milk for human consumption may also allow the purchase of raw milk on farms or the acquisition of raw milk through cow-share agreements. Click on each state for more information.
states allow the sale of raw milk in retail stores
All quoted information in this column is taken from Real Raw Milk Facts, "Raw Milk Facts State by State," www.realrawmilkfacts.com (accessed Feb. 6, 2013)
All statute and code abbreviations in this column are taken from the state government website or from Real Raw Milk Facts, "Raw Milk Facts State by State," www.realrawmilkfacts.com (accessed Feb. 6, 2013)
Sale of raw milk for human consumption is prohibited.
Sale of raw milk for human consumption is prohibited. Raw milk may be legally obtained through ownership of a cow, sheep, or goat, including through cow-share agreements, but only where a legal contract clarifying ownership of the animal is established.
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. "Raw milk for retail sale must be clearly labeled and displayed/offered separately from pasteurized milk; Cattle producing raw milk must be tested for tuberculosis and brucellosis before beginning production and every 12 months."
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. "Raw milk must have warning either on display or, if sold from place of production, may be attached to bottle. 17 CCR § 11380. Raw milk for consumption to have not greater than 10 coliform bacteria/mL and not greater than 15,000 bacteria/mL. CA Food & Ag Code § 35781 (a)(1)."
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. "Retail raw milk only to be sold in its unprocessed form, with no added ingredients or processing. C.G.S.A. § 22-173a. Only pasteurized milk may be served at food service establishments. C.G.S.A. § 22-193. Regulatory standards for retail raw milk found at CT ADC §§ 22-133-124 thru 22-133-132, including bacterial sampling standards at CT ADC § 22-133-129."
Sale of raw milk for human consumption is prohibited. "The sale of raw milk cheese properly processed and aged according to Federal requirements is legal. The sale of raw milk for animal consumption is legal if the distributor is licensed under the commercial feed laws. The Georgia Department of Agriculture currently has several distributors of raw goat milk for pet food under license."
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. Raw milk may also be legally obtained through cow-share agreements. "Producers of raw milk for retail sale must have permit; retailers aside from grocery stores/food retailers must also have permit. Bacterial counts < 15K/mL, coliform < 25/mL, other applicable limits available at ID ADC 02.04.13.060."
On-farm sale of raw milk is allowed. "Bacterial limits < 20K/mL, Coliform < 10/mL. 330 MA ADC 27.06. Containers must be conspicuously labeled as raw and carry required warning text. Containers must be sold within 5 days of filling. Sign must be posted conspicuously in raw milk sale area. 330 MA ADC 27.08."
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. "Certified milk producers must meet standards set by county raw milk commissions (which must be established and set regulations prior to sale being permitted); certified raw milk must have bacteria count < 10K/mL and coliform < 10/mL."
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. On-farm sale of raw milk is also allowed. "The following requirements do not apply to a producer that sells fewer than 20 quarts/day. Must be clearly labeled as raw and carry specific warning, unless sold at the farm, in which case a sign with warning is sufficient; bacteria count < 20K/mL, coliform < 10/mL."
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. On-farm sale of raw milk is also allowed. "Bacteria < 20K/mL, coliform < 50/mL. Seller of raw milk must have permit to use grade A labeling/advertising for product. Requires testing of all cows before production of milk and every 12 months thereafter. Must be bottled at farm. Bottles must be conspicuously labeled as raw and carry warning text. Raw milk must be displayed separately from pasteurized milk products."
On-farm sale of raw milk is allowed. "Milk must be sold directly to consumer from a farm licensed by the NY AGRI & MKTS where produced, sign must be posted warning that milk does not have protection of pasteurization; Bacteria count < 30K/mL; quarterly pathogen testing conducted."
Sale of raw milk for human consumption is prohibited. Sale of raw milk for animal feed is permitted. "Any raw milk sold as animal feed must be clearly labeled with the text "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. IT IS NOT LEGAL TO SELL RAW MILK FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION IN NORTH CAROLINA."
On-farm sale of raw milk is allowed. On-farm sale is prohibited on farms with 3 or more cows. "Standards do not apply to a farm with fewer than 3 cows, 9 sheep, or 9 goats, but those farms may sell raw milk for consumption only from the premises where produced and the sale of milk is not advertised. Retail raw milk must be displayed separately and carry warning on label."
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. On-farm sale of raw milk is also allowed. "Raw milk must come from cows certified by department as in good physical health and disease free; cows must be tested for brucellosis and tuberculosis at least once a year; bacterial limits < 20K/mL, coliform < 10/mL."
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. On-farm sale of raw milk is also allowed. "Unlawful for anyone without a permit to manufacture, sell, or give away raw milk. Must be clearly labeled as raw with statement indicating milk has not been pasteurized. Farms must be inspected prior to production and every 3 months after production begins. Bacterial count < 10K/mL, coliform < 10/g, zero presence of pathogenic organisms."
On-farm sale of raw milk is allowed. Delivery of raw milk directly from farm to consumer is also allowed, including at farmers' markets. "Farms making sales direct to consumer or making delivery must still have permit for production of milk. Milk must be clearly labeled as 'raw.'"
On-farm sale of raw milk is allowed. Off farm sale of raw milk is allowed if store is owned by the producer. Obtaining raw milk through cow-share agreements is prohibited. "Monthly testing for bacteria and pathogens required. Zero pathogens; bacteria < 20K/mL; coliform < 10/mL. Animals must be tested before production and every six months thereafter. Bottles must be labeled raw and carry warning label."
On-farm sale of raw milk is allowed. Delivery of raw milk from farm to consumer is also allowed. "Raw milk sales are prohibited at farmers markets, but advertising is not restricted. Producers of more than 12.5 gallons/day must meet bacteriological stds: bacteria < 15K/mL, coliform < 10/mL. Must be clearly labeled as raw and carry required warning."
Retail sale of raw milk in stores is allowed. Raw milk may also be legally obtained through cow-share agreements. "Must have warning label with required text. If sold at food establishment, sign with warning text must be posted nearby. Herd must have tested negative for brucellosis, Q fever, and tuberculosis within previous 12 months. Monthly retail testing: bacterial count < 20K/mL, coliform < 10/mL; somatic cell <750k/ml (cow & sheep) or <1 million/ml (goat)."
Retail sale of raw milk is prohibited. Raw milk may be legally obtained through cow-share agreements. "(g) Unpasteurized milk and products made from unpasteurized milk (except cheese qualifying under subsection (d) may not be sold, delivered, served, or provided for human consumption. (i) This subsection does not apply to individuals who obtain milk from animals owned by them, members of their family, or their employer and who furnish raw milk or products made from raw milk only to members of their family or non-paying guests."