On June 7 the state dairy code was amended to provide that “a milk producer-distributor who daily produces for sale less than 20 gallons of raw milk or processes less than 20 gallons of raw milk into cheese aged at least 60 days, yogurt, cream, butter, or kefir shall not require a milk producer-distributor license, provided these products are offered as direct sales from the producer-distributor’s own farm, farm stand, or at a farmers’ market to the food consumers within the state of New Hampshire only.”

     The dairy amendment creates an opportunity for producers to increase their income by selling value-added products, something very few other states allow. It is difficult to see why states have not legalized the sale of raw dairy products other than milk and cheese aged 60 days because in the states where the sale of raw butter, cream and yogurt have been legal there are few, if any, cases of foodborne illness attributed to the consumption of these products.  The sale of aged raw cheese is legal in every state but even small-scale cheese producers are subject to burdensome dairy plant requirements to be in compliance.

     In addition to expanding the kinds of raw dairy products that can be sold, the bill also allows the sales to take place at farmers’ markets. Most states that have legalized the unlicensed sale of raw milk have limited sales to the farm, decreasing the producer’s potential customer base. The bill (HB 1402) is a significant step in opening up new markets for small-scale raw milk producers.


(Pete Kennedy/ August 15, 2012/