The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

Massachusetts Raw Milk Laws and Regulations

Massachusetts Raw Milk Laws and Regulations

The laws and regulations governing the production and sale of raw milk in Massachusetts are intricate and tricky, as they involve a number of regulatory agencies and sets of standards. NOFA/Mass provides this page as reference, and encourages raw milk farmers to work with their local inspectors and town officials to ensure that they are complying with the most current rules. Please email winton@nofamass.org with any questions.

The following summary comes from the Weston A. Price Foundation's Real Milk project, at
www.realmilk.com/milk-laws-3.html#ma.

Summary:
In general, the requirements for Grade "A" bulk milk all apply as well to raw milk for retail sale. Producers of raw milk for retail sale must hold a Dairy Farm Certificate of Registration.

The state legislature has granted the power to city and town boards of health to determine whether raw milk sales are legal. If the local board of health makes raw milk sales legal, farmers must follow state regulations on the production and sale of raw milk, including the following:

1. A five day maximum period for the sale of retail raw milk commencing from the time the farmer fills the container. Each container of retail raw milk must indicate the last date on which the container may be offered for sale.

2. The farmer shall label the product "Raw cow's milk" or "Raw goat's milk" and the label shall include the name, address, and zip code of the producing farm.

3. All retail containers of raw milk shall have the following warning on the label:"Raw milk is not pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys organisms that may be harmful to human health."

4. A sign must be posted in the area where the raw milk is sold, stating "Raw milk is not pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys organisms that may be harmful to human health."

According to the state Department of Agricultural Resources, raw milk sales are legal on the farm. Like dairy farmers selling raw milk to pasteurization plants, farmers selling retail raw milk must obtain a vendor's license from the milk inspector in the town nearest to their farm. Farmers who sell twenty quarts of milk a day or less are exempt from this requirement. No farmer selling raw milk, regardless of quantity, is exempt from MA Department of Agricultural Resources testing and inspections.

General Laws of Massachusetts
PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT TITLE XV REGULATION OF TRADE CHAPTER 94 INSPECTION AND SALE OF FOOD, DRUGS AND VARIOUS ARTICLES MILK AND CREAM.

G. L. c. 94, § 16J. Rules for handling and sale of milk.

Section 16J. Boards of health of cities and towns may establish, amend or repeal rules and regulations for the handling and sale of milk within said cities and towns; provided, that such rules and regulations shall be consistent with those established pursuant to sections twelve and thirteen.

Code of Massachusetts Regulations
330 CMR: DEPARTMENT OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
330 CMR 27.00: STANDARDS AND SANITATION REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADE A RAW MILK

(D) Date. The date on the container of retail raw milk shall indicate the last date on which the container may be offered for sale. There shall be a five day maximum period for the sale of retail raw milk which shall commence from the time of filling. Said five day maximum period may be shortened by the Commissioner if she/he deems such modification to be in the best interest of the consumer.

(E) Labeling. The name of the product is Raw Cow's Milk or Raw Goat's Milk and shall be so plainly labeled. The label shall contain the name, address and zip code of the producing farm.

(F) Consumer Warning Statement

(1) All retail containers of raw cow's or raw goat's milk shall be conspicuously labeled with the following statement: "Raw milk is not pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys organisms that may be harmful to human health". The minimum size of the printed words shall not be less than 1/16 inch in height, with the words "not pasteurized" being not less that 1/8 inch in height or twice the height of any other lettering in the label, whichever is greater.

(2) A sign must be posted in the area where the raw milk is sold and placed in a location where it can be easily observed by anyone entering therein. Such sign shall not be less than eight by eleven inches in total dimension and shall display the following statement: "Raw milk is not pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys organisms that may be harmful to human health." The minimum size of the printed words shall not be less than 1/2 inch in height, with the words "not pasteurized" being not less than one inch in height.

General Laws of Massachusetts
PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT TITLE XV REGULATION OF TRADE CHAPTER 94 INSPECTION AND SALE OF FOOD, DRUGS AND VARIOUS ARTICLES MILK AND CREAM.

G. L. c. 94, § 40. License to sell milk; contents; display.
Section 40. No person, except a producer or dealer selling milk to other than consumers, or selling not more than twenty quarts per day to consumers, shall deliver, exchange, expose for sale or sell or have in his custody or possession with intent so to do any milk or cream in any town where an inspector of milk is appointed, without obtaining from such inspector a license which shall contain the number thereof, the name and place of business.

No farmer selling raw milk, regardless of quantity, is exempt from MA Department of Agricultural Resources testing and inspections.

Additional regulations and laws
330 CMR 27.08: Additional Requirements For Grade "A" Raw Milk For Retail Sale www.mass.gov/agr/legal/regs/330_CMR_27.00.pdf

This document details standards for herd health, processing standards, inspection processes, and sanitation. Producers with questions should start with this document, as it has everything from capping procedures and labeling requirements, to personnel health and somatic cell count requirements.

330 CMR 28.00: Milk and Milk Products
www.mass.gov/agr/legal/regs/dairy_28_milk.pdf

This section pertains mainly to pasteurized milk, but includes some important definitions and standards.

MGL Chapter 128, Section 2: Powers and duties of department of agriculture
www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/128-2.htm

In subsection (a), this section appears to give the power to regulate raw milk to the Department of Agriculture.

MGL Chapter 94, Section 12: Inspection and Sale of Food, Drugs and Various Articles
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/gl-94-toc.htm Scroll down to Section 12 to find all of the Massachusetts laws pertaining to milk and cream.

MGL Chapter 94: Section 12. Milk and cream, definitions, standards; rules
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/94-12.htm

Chapter 94, Section 16B. Applications for registration of dairy farms www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/94-16b.htm

Chapter 94: Section 20. Sale of below standard milk; penalty
www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/94-20.htm

Please email winton@nofamass.org with any questions.

 

Become a Member

Donate to NOFA/Mass

Subcribe to the Newsletter