SENATE, No. 3414

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 10, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  MICHAEL L. TESTA, JR.

District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Permits sale of raw milk under certain conditions and establishes raw milk permit program.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


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 ] a consumer any milk or cream that is not pasteurized unless the person is a holder of a valid raw milk permit issued 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 pursuant to section 3 of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.1964, c.62, s.18)

 

     3.    (New section) a. The Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health, shall establish a raw milk permit program.  The raw milk permit program shall allow the holder of a raw milk permit to sell, offer for sale or otherwise make available raw milk directly to consumers but only at the farm or property where the raw milk is produced.  The Department of Agriculture shall issue a raw milk permit to an applicant after the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health have each received, reviewed, and approved a permit application from the applicant, pursuant to the provisions of this section and any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.

     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 of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health, to conduct, inspections in conjunction with any other inspections currently conducted by the Department of Health and or Department of Agriculture at dairy farms, 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 stating that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization, and to comply with the labeling and signage requirements established by subsection c. of this section; 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 of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health, 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.     Wherever raw milk is advertised, sold, or dispensed, the permit holder shall affix on the container from which raw milk is dispensed, and on each container of raw milk or raw milk product sold, a label that reads:  “Raw Milk Is Not Pasteurized and May Contain Organisms that Cause Human Disease.”  The permit holder shall also post at least one sign that can easily be observed by anyone entering the place where the raw milk is advertised, sold, or dispensed.  Each sign shall be no less than eight by 11 inches in total dimension and shall state, in letters not less than one inch in height: “Raw Milk Is Not Pasteurized and May Contain Organisms that Cause Human Disease.”

     d.    The Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health, shall establish a raw milk permit fee to be collected by the Department of Agriculture in an amount estimated to cover the costs of administering the raw milk permit program incurred by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health. The Department of Agriculture shall transfer to the Department of Health the appropriate portion of collected fees in accordance with an appropriate schedule established and agreed to by the departments.  This fee shall be in addition to any other fee required by law for the production or sale of milk in the State.

     e.     The Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health, 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 of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health, determines poses a danger to public health on an initial basis and continuing basis as required.

     f.     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.

     g.    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 of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health.  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 subsection shall be reported to the Department of Agriculture and to the Department of Health by the permit holder and the independent laboratory that performed the test.

     h.    If testing results fail to meet the compliance requirements established in subsection g.  of this section, then a second test shall be conducted.  If the second test results fail to meet the compliance requirements established in subsection g. 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 g. 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 g. of this section, then the permit holder’s permit shall be revoked.

     i.     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.

     j.     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.

     k.    For the purposes of this section:

     “Applicant” means a person who owns, and produces milk or milk products from, one cow or goat or more and is seeking a raw milk permit pursuant to this section.

     “Permit holder” means a person in possession of a valid raw milk permit issued 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 and the Commissioner of Health may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

      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, in consultation with the Department of Health, to establish a raw milk permit program.

      The bill authorizes permit holders to sell, offer for sale or otherwise make available raw milk at the farm or property where the raw milk is produced.  The bill also establishes 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, including specific labeling on dispensing containers and sold containers and specific signage; (3) submission to certain inspections by the Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health; 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 of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health, to cover the costs of administering the program.

      The Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Health, 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 of Agriculture and the Department of Health.  If the permit holder fails to meet certain standards, by failing two consecutive tests in a one year period, then the raw milk permit would be revoked.