Raw Milk Laws: Canada and the U.S.

canada-and-united-states-1000This map shows the current legal status of raw milk sales in Canada and the United States.  The Canadian federal government bans all sales of raw milk under the Food and Drug Act Regulations which state:

“B.08.002.2 (1) Subject to subsection (2), no person shall sell the normal lacteal secretion obtained from the mammary gland of the cow, genus Bos, or of any other animal, or sell a dairy product made with any such secretion, unless the secretion or dairy product has been pasteurized by being held at a temperature and for a period that ensure the reduction of the alkaline phosphatase activity so as to meet the tolerances specified in official method MFO-3, Determination of Phosphatase Activity in Dairy Products, dated November 30, 1981.”     (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to (a) cheese; or (b) any food that is sold for further manufacturing or processing in order to pasteurize it in the manner described in subsection (1).”

In addition to this Federal ban on raw milk sales, milk and all other agricultural and natural products are defined by the laws of 10 provinces and 2 territories as being “regulated products.”  Milk marketing boards set up by all 10 provincial governments have been given legal control of all milk produced in that province, no matter what its use.  (These marketing boards are under the authority of provincial councils which oversee other product-specific  marketing boards as well.)  Under law, all dairy farmers of any size must have a “producer’s licence.” And it is illegal everywhere other than in the Northwest Territories for a farmer to sell raw milk to anyone other than to a processor for pasteurizing.    British Columbia goes one step further and in 2009 passed a law defining raw milk as being a “health hazard” (“Public Health Act, Health Hazards Regulation”):

Hazardous food …  2 The following are prescribed as health hazards:  (a) milk for human consumption that has not been pasteurized at a licensed dairy plant in accordance with the Milk Industry Act;”

and punishable by a maximum $3 million dollar fine or 3 years in jail under a combination of Sections 1, 15, 99, and 108 of the Public Health Act.

See “Raw Milk Nation” by F2CLDF for information on law, regulation, and policy concerning raw milk in individual U.S. states.