Senator MICHAEL J. DOHERTY
District 23 (Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren)
Senator SHIRLEY K. TURNER
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
Permits sale of raw milk under certain conditions and establishes raw milk permit program.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act permitting the sale of raw milk, amending P.L.1964, c.62 and supplementing Title 24 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 17 of P.L.1964, c.62 (C.24:10-57.17) is amended to read as follows:
17. No person shall sell, offer for sale, or distribute to the ultimate consumer any milk or cream that is not pasteurized unless the person is a holder of a valid raw milk permit issued by the department pursuant to section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).
(cf: P.L.1987, c.302, s.2)
2. Section 18 of P.L.1964, c.62 (C.24:10-57.18) is amended to read as follows:
18. No milk products nor fluid milk products shall be manufactured, shipped, transported, or imported for use or sale within this State unless the milk and fluid milk products used in the manufacture of such food products are pasteurized before or during manufacture into milk products or fluid milk products, provided, however, that this shall not apply to cheese which has been kept for at least 60 days after manufacture at a temperature no lower than 35 degrees Fahrenheit. This section shall not apply to milk products or fluid milk products produced by a holder of a valid raw milk permit issued by the department.
(cf: P.L.1964, c.62, s.18)
3. (New section) a. The department shall establish a raw milk permit program. The raw milk permit program shall allow a permit holder to sell, offer for sale or otherwise make available raw milk directly to consumers or retail stores.
b. The raw milk permit program shall require: (1) the applicant to be in compliance, and once a permit has been issued, to continue to be in compliance with all applicable provisions of the New Jersey dairy laws, rules and regulations; (2) the permit holder to submit to, and the department to conduct, semi-annual inspections to ensure compliance with the requirements prescribed in this section; (3) the permit holder to post a notice conspicuously on the permit holder’s property, and prominently on the labels of bottles containing the permit holder’s raw milk, stating that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization; and (4) the applicant to sign an affidavit agreeing that the applicant will not use growth hormones or cows that are given growth hormones in the production of raw milk. The department shall establish standards for proper packaging of raw milk with the exception of single serve containers of hand filled milk, which shall be permissible within the milk room.
c. The department shall establish a raw milk permit fee to be collected by the department in an amount estimated to cover the department’s cost of administering the raw milk permit program. This fee shall be in addition to any other fee required by law for the production or sale of milk in the State.
d. The department shall conduct cattle health tests, for those cattle used in the production of raw milk, for evidence of tuberculosis, brucellosis, Johnes disease and any other disease the department determines poses a danger to public health on an initial basis and continuing basis as required.
e. Raw milk for sale, pursuant to this section, shall be cooled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less within two hours after milking, and during milking the blended milk shall not exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
f. A permit holder shall test the raw milk produced to demonstrate compliance with standards established in this subsection. Raw milk shall: (1) contain a bacterial count not in excess of 10,000 colonies standard plate count per milliliter; (2) contain a coliform count not in excess of 10 per milliliter; (3) contain a somatic cell count not in excess of 300,000 per milliliter of retail raw milk; and (4) contain no antibiotic residue according to current accepted standards. Testing to establish the standards required under this subsection shall be conducted on a bimonthly basis, at the permit holder’s expense, by an independent laboratory approved by the department. Each permit holder shall maintain a log of the test results on a rolling thirteen month schedule. Test results that fail to meet the standards established in this section shall be reported to the department by the permit holder and the independent laboratory that performed the test.
g. If testing results fail to meet the compliance requirements established in subsection f. of this section, then a second test shall be conducted. If the second test results fail to meet the compliance requirements established in subsection f. of this section, then the sale of milk from the failing facility shall be suspended. Sale of raw milk from the failing facility may resume only upon a showing of two consecutive tests, within a ten day period, meeting the compliance requirements established in subsection f. of this section. If a permit holder receives two suspensions within a one year period for failure to meet the compliance requirements established in subsection f. of this section, then the permit holder’s permit shall be revoked.
h. Raw milk products such as yogurt, kefir, butter, cottage cheese, and raw milk cheese may be produced and sold by a permit holder provided they are in compliance with all of the requirements of this section.
i. Nothing in this section, nor any other law, shall preclude a consumer, for the purpose of obtaining raw milk, and a farmer from entering into a contract for shared ownership of a cow and contractually prescribing the terms and conditions of milk production. If a contract is entered into pursuant to this subsection, no raw milk permit shall be required.
j. For the purposes of this section:
“Applicant” means a person seeking a raw milk permit from the department.
“Department” means the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
“Permit holder” means a person in possession of a valid raw milk permit issued by the department pursuant to this section
“Raw milk” means milk that has not been pasteurized.
4. This act shall take effect on the 180th day after the date of enactment, but the Secretary of Agriculture may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.
This bill would permit the sale of raw milk by a person holding a valid raw milk permit. The bill would also require the Department of Agriculture to establish a raw milk permit program.
The bill requires that the permit program allow a permit holder to sell, offer for sale or otherwise make available raw milk. The permit program would also enforce certain standards for the quality of the raw milk that is produced by a permit holder. To protect the public health, the bill establishes certain prerequisites that must be met before a raw milk permit may be granted, including: (1) a signed affidavit by the permit applicant certifying that no growth hormones will be used in the process of producing raw milk; (2) conspicuous warning requirements stating that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization; (3) submission to certain inspections by the department; and (4) compliance with all applicable provisions of New Jersey’s dairy laws, rules and regulations.
The permit program would be funded by a permit fee estimated by the department to cover the costs of administering the program.
The department would be required to conduct initial testing of the cows intended to be used for the production of raw milk, with ongoing testing as necessary. The permit holder is also required to conduct tests, at the permit holder’s expense, to measure the levels of certain bacteria and pathogens in the raw milk produced. Failing test results are required to be reported to the department. If the permit holder fails to meet certain standards, by failing two consecutive tests in a one year period, then the raw milk permit may be revoked.