(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Connie Wagner and Gilbert ‘Whip” Wilson to aid New Jersey farmers by allowing for the sale of raw milk was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
“Currently hundreds of families are crossing our border into other states to purchase raw milk at farms and ‘drop sites’ just outside New Jersey,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “I believe that this is a consumer choice issue, a dairy farm revitalization bill, a jobs creation bill, and an open space bill all rolled into one piece of legislation.”
“Families in New Jersey who prefer raw milk should not have to go to another state to buy it,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This bill would give consumers the choice to purchase raw milk right here in New Jersey, and would provide a welcome boost of revenue to New Jersey dairy farmers and our economy.”
The bill (A-518) would create a permit program through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to allow for the sale of raw milk in New Jersey. The legislation would require the testing of cows intended to be used for the production of raw milk, with ongoing testing as necessary. The permit holder would also be required to conduct tests to measure the levels of certain bacteria and pathogens in the raw milk produced. The bill also stipulates that no growth hormones can be used in the process of producing raw milk.
Currently, raw milk is sold at retail stores in ten states and fifteen states permit farms to sell it directly to consumers. Two neighboring states – Pennsylvania and New York – both sell raw milk. Dairy farms in New Jersey account for roughly four percent of milk consumption with 96 percent currently being imported from farms outside the state.