Maine’s Legal Raw Milk Business May Evade Licensing and Inspections
Food Safety News
By Dan Flynn | March 11, 2014
Raw milk regulation in the form of licensing and inspection would have gone away in Maine last year had Gov. Paul LePage not vetoed the legislation because it allowed off-the-farm sales.
Opponents of raw milk licensing and inspection are back this year with a bill that limits unregulated raw milk sales to the farm and prohibits any signage or other advertising. It allows only face-to-face sales. The re-worked bill from last session is slowly making its way through legislative committees, but it’s uncertain whether it will have time enough to get back to LePage’s desk before adjournment in mid-April.
Ronald Dyer, quality assurance and regulations director for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, favors the bill as long as it contains language limiting sales to the farm or a farm stand located on contiguous property, the product is labeled as not pasteurized, and farms post signs stating that the milk is not pasteurized, licensed or inspected by the state.
Dyer says his agency “strongly supports many programs to help farmers in selling raw milk and homemade food products, and we take great pride in the ongoing work to assure we remain as flexible as possible to the needs of small producers.”
He adds that the department “should fully acknowledge and consider the widely known risks of consuming raw milk, and we believe the bill … sets a reasonable balance by ensuring an informed consumer is buying directly on-farm from the farmer.”
Dyer says both the farmer and the consumer “will be fully aware the product is not pasteurized” because of the requirements in the bill.
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